So this month has truly been a trip down memory lane for me. I have really enjoyed everything that has gone into doing these paintings. From coming up with the ideas, to searching out and setting up each still life, then painting and sharing my thoughts behind them with you. It has been a month of painting from the heart. I would recommend doing this sometime if you get a chance. I got so much out of it.
I racked my brain all month, trying to figure out what I wanted to do for my last painting. I wanted it to be meaningful and stay within the theme that I had set out to do. But I also wanted it to sort of tie everything together. Wrap up the month. Then one day it hit me. What about the south is more important than anything else? What defines and redefines our southern culture and traditions? What is the heart and soul of the south? Family.
That is the essence of this whole series. It is family that ties it all together. In these paintings of my viewpoints and my observations...it is my family. They have provided the memories and the experiences in my life to make all of these paintings possible. It's kind of funny really. My family is not the perfect family by any stretch of the imagination. My family is loud, a little quirky, a little dysfunctional and a whole lot of crazy. We have stories that defy the imagination, a lot of stories we shouldn't tell (but do) and enough eccentric personalities to make up several families. But we like to laugh and we like to have a good time...we really like to have a good time....and even though we drive each other crazy, they have my back and I've got theirs. There are no people, like your people.
Family is important everywhere and especially in the south. Bad or good, crazy or not...family shapes your view of the world and how you relate to it. You can leave them and yet they are always with you. The stories and the traditions are a part of you. That is important stuff. Very important stuff.
How do you paint family though? I chose to throw a stack of old pictures of my family on my studio table and light a candle and paint that. But really all the tangible objects in the world won't capture the soul and memories of family or the south. They are only bits and pieces, fragments of life. The real painting is what you live everyday. It's the traditions and the stories that you pass down to the next generation. Crazy or not. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes that is just so true...at least in my family.
"I'm saying this is the South. And we're proud of our crazy people. We don't hide them up in the attic. We bring 'em right down to the living room and show 'em off. See, no one in the South ever asks you if you have crazy people in your family. They just ask what side they're on."
-Julia Sugarbaker, Designing Women
Thanks so much for sticking with me this month! I have thoroughly enjoyed all of your comments and memories that you have shared with me. Thank you also for enjoying my paintings enough to buy them. I have sold almost half of them. I feel like this series has gone so much farther than I ever thought it would and has meant as much to others as it has to me, and I am grateful for that. That is why I paint.
8"x8" oil on canvas panel