I am grateful for artwork. Not just any artwork though, but my specifically special amazing artwork.
I was thinking of artwork the other night when I caught some program on television discussing the investment value of owning a renowned artist’s work. I’m willing to bet most of us will never own a da Vinci or a Monet or a Renoir (and I had to look those up to get the spelling right). I could go on to say that da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance artist from the 15th Century and the other two were more contemporary in that Monet was a French Impressionist who died in 1926 and likewise was Renoir who died in 1919. I could explain that impressionism in terms of artistic style is often called realism because it captures the affect of light in the painting and you might think, gee does she really know what she is talking about. I could argue that all of the aforementioned artists’ work was brilliant and I thought Renoir’s “girl with a watering can” was delightful and who of us that grew up in the 50s or 60s didn’t have hanging on the wall of our childhood home a print of Thomas Gainsborough’s Blue Boy painted in around 1770 or even a print of the Mona Lisa, as if those very copies somehow made our home more acceptably decorated. Those artists certainly earned a mention in Art History 101, but I don’t want any of their paintings (copy or otherwise) hanging on my wall with a special light above it shining just perfectly. Phew, that was a mouthful.
If someone came to my house and offered to exchange my Under The Sea by one brilliantly talented Laurie Anne for an original Picasso, I would shake my head with a hint of an apology, but only a hint, and with my hand on my chest and my head tilted ever so slightly to the side, I would decline. Oh my no, I would say. I could never part with a Laurie Anne, her work is surpassed by very few, if any. She painted this exceptional piece of wonder when she was eight and won great acclaim with those judges of the highest order from the Simcoe County School Board.
Nor would I part with my Over The Rainbow, a Thea Brae original painted at the age of six in Mrs. Nancy Brillinger’s class at Worsley Elementary. The colours are rich and vibrant and so darn cheery that gazing upon this fine masterpiece completely chases away any blues that may be lurking nearby.
I have Christmas Reindeer, stained-glass images that I put up each Christmas since they were created by Aimee Sarah at age thirteen and Samantha Elisabeth when she, too, was thirteen. Same teacher. These reindeer are getting a tad fragile and I fear the day when they can no longer take their place of honour in the front window.
I have a snowman that was created out of soap flakes and water that is missing his eyes and nose and only has one arm, but still he comes out at Christmas and makes the other snowmen pale in comparison. I can’t remember which artist I raised that made that snowman, but don’t tell my daughters; I would hate for them to think I can’t remember such an important detail.
Suffice to say, the artwork I am most proud of owning and having and admiring and pointing out to my guests, belongs to my children. It is on loan to me as I cling to their childhood with a tenacious grip, which we all know is hopeless; they still grow up. I have the cards they made me for mother’s day and birthdays and to welcome their new siblings into their lives. I even have some hate mail from Samantha who perfected that particular art form to a T, due to her sheer determination and practice.
The evidence that my children were indeed children is like a fingerprint on my heart, each one unique, special, remarkable, amazing. I would guess if most of us took a look around our house or on our person, those things that endure, that matter, that conjure up an array of wonderful emotions were gifts hand-made by someone, a child most likely.
I love my artwork. I love that it captures my children right there inside the frame, the part of them that can never really escape from me, the part that can be called home anytime I want, with nothing but a glance, my finger tracing the pattern that their fingers followed one day not so very long ago.