I think that when we die, we are rather quickly forgotten. When my step-dad passed away, many more things had to be done than I ever realized. The mortgage company had to be notified, as did the electric company, phone company, etc. His insurance company had to know. I was amazed at how many people had to be told. It was a lengthy process. However, the part that made me feel sad was that with the notifying of all those places, it seemed like he was slowly being erased…as though he never existed. In the end all that remained were four quilts, a rocking chair, and some photographs.

I read somewhere that even if a person is very famous, within a couple of generations, they will probably be forgotten and young people will say “who?”

I’ve decided that I’m going to live for now and for maybe that one or two generations to follow. I’m going to join my daughter, who’s mission and joy are to keep memories. I’m going to make them as well. Perhaps those will just be for me. I don’t know. I would love it if someone else – anyone else – would get delight from hearing about my adventures. If not, well, I have them and maybe my children and grandchildren will feel they know me just a bit better. Maybe, in my memories, they’ll know more about themselves as well.

For most of my life, I’ve created art that was for sale. Occasionally I would love a piece so much that I would not be able to part with it. Sometimes over time I would get over it and it would be sold. Once, however, I was never able to let it go. That’s the piece below.

Mending the Sails (William Gates, captain of the Dove), watercolor

This piece took me two years. As the completion grew near, I could spend less and less time on it. Just a few brush strokes would be very stressful There would be no way to correct a mistake. I felt this painting was the best I’d ever done and perhaps the best I would ever do. I offered it for sale at $1,800. The only two offers I got were for payment-over-time. Fair enough…but not for this piece. When I sell a painting, the money is quickly gone. It buys a couple tanks of gas for the car or maybe some groceries. This painting earned its price tag. It hangs in my apartment still. When it was finished, I showed it to someone and their comment of “Well, you said yourself that every painting can’t be a masterpiece” hurt me so deeply that I was not able to paint for ten years. If my very best, after decades of experience and training, was nothing special, I wanted no more to do with art. It was not an easy thing to pick up the brush again. I had to work myself up to it over many months.

As much as I love this painting and it is part of my permanent collection, I know there is better yet to come. It won’t diminish this piece. I guess its only natural that if I continue to study and produce new work, there will be some that will take my breath away.

Why paint, if not for the money?

I thought that was what my work was for…to earn money. Now? I think I’m more interested in telling the story. It just so happens that the best language I have is with art. I’ve discovered that if I create art I love and someone else loves it, too…that’s wonderful! Some of my work is still to earn money…commissions. But a lot of it is for the shear pleasure of making it.

The drawings aren’t masterpieces, but they tell the story better than a masterpiece. Even in their imperfect-ness. they declare their tale.

So. My works include a story and once in a while, they include actual words.