Wednesday, September 29, 2010

My Mother's Paintings

My mother, Lucille, who, some of you may remember, just turned 90, is very artistic.  Now, she would say otherwise, she would look at me as if I lost my mind, shake her head and say, "Artistic?  I am NOT!" as if it were an insult.

But I beg to differ.  Oh, yes, you are artistic,  Mom.

Mom loves to paint things for me and I love to have her do it, though when I give her an item, she often says she doesn't know what to paint.  But inspiration always comes to her.

Four years ago, I gave her our brand- new mailbox to decorate as she saw fit after the first and second mailboxes were destroyed by vandals.   Don't ask me why people take out their aggression on mailboxes; I haven't figured it out yet.  One of the problems of living on a side road is the traffic is very light, giving cretins ample time and little interference to do stupid stuff.

Our first mail receptacle was hit by a car and/or a baseball bat, and completely destroyed.  It was early winter when the Mailbox Murderer set out down our lonely road and there had been a light snowfall that night.  Every mailbox on our road was destroyed.   In the freshly fallen snow you could see their tire tracks weaving deliberately into each and every one.  I'd hate to see the vehicle when they got done!  I'm assuming alcohol is involved?  

We then put up a rusty, dented relic of a mailbox as a replacement in case the vandals would strike again.  All was well for about five years and the old mailbox just got rustier, until one fateful night when vandals struck again; we were startled awake by a loud explosion around 3AM one summer morning and heard a loud truck speeding off down the road.

The next morning we found our mailbox lid up by the garage,  the mailbox top was in the ditch across the road and the flag, for all we know, is still orbiting the earth. The bottom of the mailbox was still on the post out by the road, but there was a 1" hole blown clear through the bottom of it.  I called the police to make a report and they said it looked like a quarter stick of dynamite was used.  They had other complaints from homeowners all over a five mile radius, so apparently these vandals were very busy.

But I often wonder what they really get out of it?  They usually destroy mailboxes in the middle of the night and don't stick around to see what they did because they are afraid of getting caught.  Ah, well, who can analyze the mind of an average idiot? 

So, we needed another mailbox again.  This happened about the time we were going to have a large garden walk tour the gardens in 2006, so we wanted to put up something pretty, though it's hard to put something pretty out by the road when you know 'something pretty' attracts the jerks out there like a magnet.  But so far, so good; four years later, it's still standing.  (I keep my fingers crossed.)

Where was I?  Oh, yes, I had a new, white mailbox and I needed Mom to work her magic on it.

Mom said, "I don't know what you want me to paint on here, but I'll do my best."

Well, here's the result:
A little closer
On the other side, she added some pretty flowers and vines in and around our name and address, but for 'safety on the internet's sake' I won't be showing that side.  (I trust all of you, it just that we all know there are vandals on the interwebs too.)

I did tell Mom I was worried about this mailbox being destroyed, but she said cheerfully, "Oh, well, if they wreck this one, I get to paint another one!"

She actually seemed rather hopeful, lol. 

Another thing she painted for us was our rain barrel.  I have three rain barrels behind the garage that catch the water coming off the roof, but I needed one in front of the garage for the flowering pots in the driveway.  I asked Mom to decorate the driveway barrel for me:

Here is our big, happy Cardinal!  

Next, we rotate the barrel:
All sorts of fantasy flowers. I wish I could grow a garden like that!
The other side of the barrel
Closer look
My favorite side, so many flowers!

Years ago, we found an adorable little section of a wooden fence in our local landfill and I just had to bring it home.  Carl put hinges on it and it became our Garden Gate.  I painted it white and presented it to Mom one winter and asked her to paint flowers on it for me.  She was rather timid of the project, "What do I paint?  By the time I get done, you will want to repaint it white again!" But I told her to paint whatever she felt like, and here's the result:

This is actually the second time she's painted this gate as it did get weathered, I have pictures around here somewhere of the first time she worked her magic on it.  We do store the gate in the garage for the winter, but Mom thinks it's time for another repaint of the gate as it's looking a little worn again....well, we'll see, I think it's still pretty, but I know she's looking forward to painting it again...maybe this time I'll tell her to just touch it up, or better yet! I'll get her a bigger gate to paint, too!

Here's some closeups of the individual pickets:

 Mom painted the top of each picket with a different hosta:

 But there's two sides to every gate, and here's the other side:

  And my absolute favorite picket:
So, there we have it, some of Mom's artwork.

I teased her once, told her she might become famous like Grandma Moses.

She said, "Who's that?"

Oh, Mom!

In the future I hope there will be more to come from "Grandma Lucille"!


Darla said...

How special to have these touches from your Mom in your gardens...

Alison said...

All the great things your mom has painted for you are wonderful treasures, but she is the absolute greatest treasure you have! I love when you post about her. She has such a positive attitude.

Missy said...

So now we know where you get your artistic ability and that eye for colour and detail that shows in your garden. Please tell Lucille I love her work.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

OK, Karen, why are you hiding your mother under a barrel? She is super talented and could sell a whole lot of painted items.


Dandelion and Daisy said...

I agree, she is very talented! My mom was a seamstress/quilter who always said "I don't have an artistic bone in my body" but she had a great eye for color and design....but if they can't draw they don't think they are artistic. Obviously, your mom can draw and has a really cool style of her own....which is what all artists are always striving for...and she is THERE!

I'm 75, I hope that when I'm 90 my kids will still WANT me to paint for them!

Thanks for visiting today. I really don't think you need to work harder on your garden, it is wonderful. I just use the pruning shears and cut stuff back in July, ususally that makes them bloom beter in September!

And on a final note....what IS the POINT of vandelism?

The Dutch Baker's Daughter said...

Your mother is fabulous! My mother would have been 91 this month and I miss her every day...

Tallulah's Antique Closet said...

Your mother did a great job on all the paintings. She must of had a lot of fun doing all that painting. Thank You for sharing....Julian

Meredehuit ♥ said...

What a sweet (and talented) mother you are blessed with. She has added such delightful whimsy to your garden!

Ellada said...

YES, your mother is a artist. It's really nice and full of beautiful colors.

Anonymous said...

Karen, you are very lucky to have your mom and that she is willing to share her talent. I am so glad you posted her work. She is very talented. To Dandelion and Daisy, I lost my mom last year and she was talented too. Not a traditional artist, she braided rugs and was a seamstress. That took a lot of time and patience. I wish she was still around and could do all the crafts she liked to do. I am not crafty, mainly because I had her. I am sure your kids will still need you and you projects when you are ninety.

Karen said...

I just wanted to share this; Mom panicked when I told her I wrote this post! "You didn't put that on the computer, did you??!" She has been so amazed by the lovely comments, and very pleased, though she still feels a bit silly.

Darla, thank you, I know I am so lucky to have her in my life!

Alison, yes, Mom is a treasure and she never fails to amaze me with her industrious attitude. She is always doing something around her house or garden; I'll be ready to take a break and she'll be back to work!

Karen said...

Missy, thank you so much, too and I will be sure to tell Mom you liked her work!

Hi Eileen, yes,I know I shouldn't keep her in a 'barrel', ha, she is so modest though, and even when she's here working in the garden and company shows up, she speeds off to avoid detection!

Karen said...

Dandelion and Daisy, Oh, I'm sure your kids WILL definitely want anything you make for them, there is no better keepsake then something made with a mother's love. You are 75? I would NEVER have guessed it, you look so young!

Cathy, I didn't know your mom was so close in age to mine, I can only imagine how much you miss her!

Karen said...

Julian, yes, she does have fun painting, thank you!

Meredehuit, my mom is so shy about her talents, that's why it's fun to 'show her off' here on the blog!

Thank you, Ellada!

gardenwalkgardentalk, thank you, I'll tell Mom! I'm sorry to hear you lost your mother last year. Your mother must have been a lot like mine, talented and wonderful!

Antique ART Garden said...

Absolutely precious, I love everything she painted. You are very blessed to have her do this, wonderful, Gina

Zoey said...

I think Grandma Lucille is very talented. How lucky you are to have her artistic touches throughout your garden.

Karen said...

Thank you, Gina, yes, I have been blessed, she is a wonder with a paint brush and she loves to have some big project to work on.

Zoey, thank you, I can tell her she's talented, but she'll just roll her eyes like a teenager. She is also an awesome seamstress and woodworker, I will post some photos of some doll dresses AND furniture she made for me when I was little.