She was an artist. She was a mother, a daughter, a wife, a teacher…but what I remember most about her was that she was an artist. She loved to paint and as I sat beside her, I found myself watching her more than the canvas she was bringing to life with her brush strokes. With each stroke she seemed to come alive as though transported into the very scene she was creating. Mesmerized by her dreamy look, I longed to join her and with the fervor of an eight year old I wished for her to take me along on her journey.
I wanted to feel the wind in my hair as my feet carried me over the rolling hills she painted or dangle my legs in the ocean water as I lay back on the wooden pier and stared up at the pale blue skies born of her imagination. I wanted to be aboard that ship, my hands on the captain’s wheel steering the vessel and myself into uncharted waters, traveling toward the unknown and embracing the anticipation that comes with not knowing where you’re headed. I wanted to be a part of the story she was telling by simply dipping her paintbrush in her palette of colors.
From a young age, I was often told I was “born old” as though misplaced somehow in an era that didn’t fully embrace me and my complex personality. I thought the same of her. Not that she was born old, instead that she was born young. Looking back I wonder how different she may have been if she had been born in more modern times when freely expressing oneself was more acceptable. A time when she didn’t have to consistently maintain a proper exterior, instead allowing herself to just be, lose herself in her art, live out those scenes she meticulously created. Embrace her passion and soar.
What would her life have been like if she wasn’t born in a time of horse drawn carriages when suitors came to call and ladies were obligated to always look their best, abide by the rules and never rock the boat? What if her adventures weren’t limited to the confines of a frame?
She was a graceful woman. She was a compassionate woman. She was a woman of elegance. She was my grandmother…but most of all she was an artist.
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