My mother is an artist. She studied art in college and though she never had the opportunity to finish her degree she used her talents daily. I remember her taking art classes when I was a little girl. She would set up her easel and canvas and my brother and I would sneak in to play with the squishy metal tubes of oils and inspect her curious tools. She displayed her work in the house alongside Renoir's Girl with a Watering Can and Rembrandt's Girl with a Broom. My young eye couldn't tell and I could never remember which was her's and which was theirs. I would have to check the signature to be certain. The bottom right hand corner cursive "heather"--yes with a lower case h. I loved it. How could I forget, her's were the pretty ones.
She painted beautiful murals on our walls complete with rainbows and apple trees and climbing Sleeping Beauty vines. She was careful to make sure our home was decorated well balancing beauty with child centered comfort. She provided us with tidy fashionable clothes but allowed us creative license to mix and match as we pleased. She kept beautiful art books out for us to peruse. She kept clay and art supplies at our ready disposal.
She was always the first to point out the beauty that surrounded us. "Oh look at the Mountain today!" she would gasp bringing her hands to her heart and gazing longingly at Mt. Rainier as if it had just popped up out of nowhere, every sighting a first sighting. As it was with a view of the water, a drive over the bridge, a walk through our neighborhood forest or a fall sunset. "Oh the colors!", "Isn't that just beautiful?!", "What a wonderful world Heavenly Father has created for us." or just a simple "oh!" said with such feeling, such amazement, wonder and conviction.
She fostered our creativity not only with the steady stream of supplies and home-made salt dough, finger paints and construction paper but also with music lessons and dance lessons and trips to the zoo and museums and parks. And then she would let us loose. Let us out into the wonder of nature to explore, find all the trinkets and ornaments God had created and left for us to discover on his earthly canvas: snakes near the pond, berries in the forest, tall grass in the field.
She has produced 5 children, her eternal mirrors, who reflect her talent in theirs: a fashion entrepreneur, a tattoo artist, a graphic designer, a mechanical designer, and a costume designer. Each of us perpetuating and expanding upon her canvas (as if it could be improved). I am so grateful for my mother's love for all things beautiful and creative. She encouraged us to dream big and to paint our own picture. She is an artist.
Happy 61st birthday mom! I love you and am so thankful for the world you painted for us.