I grew up surrounded by art and music. At the top of the stairs of our Long Island home was a painting studio (at some point it became my brother's room) but we'll focus on it's days as a studio. I remember the easels, oil paints, both oil and chalk pastels and needlepoint canvases that filled the room. Both my parents artists, they met in college at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. And they placed a high value on creativity which they passed on to me and my brother. My dad set up drawing tables with small chests of drawers for the both of us in the basement. Completely kitted out with all sorts of art supplies. Art was in every room. All of the artwork on the walls of our home was made by someone in the family or a friend. That remains true today in our house, my mom's and my brother's come to think of it.
In the sixties and early seventies my dad was creative director at BBDO until he passed away just before his 40th birthday. My mom studied illustration while at Pratt but didn't pursue a career until after my dad passed. She went back to school to study textile design and used her amazing painting skills to get her first job as a colorist painting the artworks for textiles. She became a very successful bedding designer. Hotel bedding and accessories were her thing. She designed the sheets at the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas that I learned from a podcast were the inspiration for Brooklinen. Who knew?
For the passed few years she has shifted her focus back to her true passion of painting and drawing with pastels. I don't think many days go by when she doesn't put brush to canvas. And now she finds herself deeply devoted to her art. With shows lined up this summer in throughout the mid-coast of Maine.
I wanted to share her work with you. So I selected just a few of my favorites from her Birch paintings to give you a chance to get to know her art. On her own website where she shows many more of her paintings focused on the landscapes and seascapes of Maine she speaks of being fearless and bold in her work. I would have to say that's true but she has also been fearless and bold as she has moved through life. Until now it never crossed my mind that she was a single mom from the time I was 10 til I turned 18 when she married my stepdad. She had to go out there into the world and find her way while caring for two kids in the seventies. And she did so with grace and style. She taught me to go out and get what I want, to have a career that supports my life and my dreams. She also taught me to cook and appreciate the art of gathering around the table with friends and family, to show them your love by cooking and serving beautiful food. So on this Mother's Day I pay tribute to my mom and thank her for everything she has given me.
And I give to you a few of her beautiful paintings.