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"!