A new painting is complete. It’s a depiction of a scene I saw often while wandering through the hills and forests of Ansbach. The composition is a little gardener’s hut hiding on the edge of a small pond, covered in foliage, at the foot of a walking trail I frequented while living in Germany.
Finishing this painting was nothing short of a miracle. I made the sketch for this piece before I even left Germany in December, 2014. Once we got to El Paso I was still in the throws of the perpetual hangover phase that grips many a woman in the first half of pregnancy. I did not have the energy, or strength, to get building a canvas and painting until late February. From there I realized how difficult it is to remain standing or in an upright seated position while enormously pregnant for time periods longer than an hour. By April the discomfort of painting was brought to an accelerated level when pregnancy blessed me with its unique version of carpal tunnel. Despite the obstacles I perservered and after small intervals everyday for three months I have triumphed.
Based on my account of what it was like for me to physically paint, one may not assume that I genuinely enjoyed working on this piece. Undeterred by the annoyances, I was able to find more joy in the subject matter of the work and my reason for painting it.
I truly loved every minute of the three years I was able to live in Germany. I enjoyed the fantastic trips to major European cities, but I also treasured quiet afternoons in my backyard. I found the Germans to be much more nature-loving than I had anticipated. And it’s no wonder since their countryside is absolutely gorgeous…in any season…even in the grays of November. The picture I took that would be the inspiration for this painting happened on a particularly sunny day in late October. It was a wonderful walk; the sun was bright, and everything was gold except for the grass and the pines.
I made this painting for my Nana.
And that simple statement could just as easily be trivial as it is significant. The substantial meaning that I find in writing that sentence parallels the value I find in having given it to my nana as a gift.
I was concieved at a young age for both of my parents. And like many young couples; they grew apart until they split. I had a wonderfully happy childhood surrounded by a loving family; mom, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. I was so content that I never puzzled over the detail that it was technically only half of what many children know as a complete family. Consequently, I had a Nana in addition to a Gram that I never really knew.
Fast forward 30 years and this Nana was savvy enough to have a Facebook page. So I’ve had 30 halloweens, 30 birthdays, 30 Christmases, graduated from high school, graduated from college, gotten married, and had a million mini-accomplishments in between; until I’m living in Germany and I become Facebook friends with my Nana three years ago. All that time and this poor dear has been wondering what I’ve been up to. After about six months of being Facebook friends I decided to ask her for her number and give her a call.
I am happy to say that we are finally family. Nana and I chat on the phone every couple of months and when I am in town we visit. I have to admit that it is refreshing to have rescued this relationship from the attic, swept the dust off, and brought it to life.
Last fall nana asked me for a painting. I was absolutely delighted. I felt like I finally had a chance to rectify all of the years her refrigerator or walls had been missing any piece of my creative genius. As I have described above, I put an immense amount of effort into the creation of this, my first gift to my nana. I am confident the gift will be received with the same affections with which it was made and our relationship is hallowed.