watercolors, pen, and ink
My childhood was spent exploring and playing in the woods of Maine in and around our family home. When we were little, my sister and I, like so many other kids growing up in the 1970s, were kicked out of the house on Saturdays and Sundays and left to our own devices to play. Oh, we grumbled and protested, of course. We wanted to stay up under the cozy comforts of home and Mommy while she did household chores. But just like so many mothers of that era, she was having none of that. She kicked us out of the house to do her work undeterred. And so she handed us over to be with another mother – nature. Mother Nature was warm and welcoming and had so much to offer us, discover and examine. She always helped my sister and I lose ourselves in her delights – blueberries in the summer, ice on the pond in the winter for skating, snow for sledding, tadpoles who transformed into frogs, rocks to climb and trees to play under in their shade. Long after the grumble had gone, full of joy, we were lost in our imaginary world thanks to her and soon forgot our other mother in the house. Being in nature was a favorite pastime for me. And when I wasn’t outside and had to be in, my other favorite pastime was drawing for hours on end. Many children who grew up like my sister and I had to navigate playtime by stretching our imaginations using what nature and the outside world provided as toys. I tried to share the mothering of Mother Nature when I had children. I kicked them out of the house to play, just as my mother had done. Unlike my sister and me, they grumbled louder and more fervently and would find every reason under the sun to figure out ways to get back inside. I often found myself locking them out of the house to keep them in our fenced backyard. As young adults, I don’t know whether they appreciate this part of their childhood; time will tell. But I know what I was trying to instill. Like them, I took my connection to this earth for granted while a youngster. I didn’t realize then how my two childhood pastimes would ground me as an adult. And so now, I spend as much time as possible in nature, hiking, planting gardens, and surrounded by flora and fauna in meditation. I also spend as much time as I can painting my memories of my life underfoot in mother nature. I illustrate in watercolors and pen and ink the memories of my sister and I embracing the natural world we played in and were part of when we lived in Maine. I understand that at the time, being in nature was about expanding my imagination and that now it is about being closer to mother/father creator – God. I now understand that the natural world, not the material one man has created – was and is God’s church, temple and synagogue. I paint to reclaim my light, to soothe my soul. I paint to remind myself of a beautiful, albeit fraught childhood and to remind others who experience my artwork to remember being a child using their imagination when they played outside. I also paint to inspire a new generation of parents to shoo their children outside (or accompany them) to become acquainted with their other mother – nature.
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