My Lost Love for Art

I saw a group of painters on the side of the road painting a field of horses and hills next to my house yesterday…

When I went out to see their work, I was immediately consumed with flashbacks of my grandparents. My maternal grandma and grandpa used to go on “painting vacations” with some friends of theirs long long ago. After my grandma passed away last summer I saw a few pictures of them with their easels and umbrellas and paint supplies, laughing with their friends. When I went out to talk to the painters near my house, I described to them how my grandparents used to do something similar and, while sharing this simple fact, I found myself all choked up and teary-eyed. It quite took me by surprise.

painting vacations

Just the knowledge that I have my dear grandma’s oil painting supplies in my house – ready to be used at any time – makes my heart ache for her. A few months after my grandma passed away last August, I took some time to paint with her old supplies. I don’t really know how to work with oil paints, but she had some instruction books, so I just “winged it” and painted without judging myself. It was calming and freeing and therapeutic and made me feel close to her.

But I haven’t painted in several months – partly because it takes awhile to do and I simply don’t have time with two school-aged daughters and a wild toddler running around; but perhaps more so because the thought of smelling my grandma’s paints again is still a bit too much from me emotionally.

The bummer is I have always loved art and I really do miss working with my hands in that way. When I was a kid I was always drawing and doing crafts of all sorts; in high school and college I was really into landscape and macro photography; and I got into watercolor painting a few years back when I was coming out of the fog of a horrific depression. It was then that I learned how much I love painting! It is so freeing and peaceful to work with the brush and paper or canvas.

And today, as I was on a hike with my little toddler, I couldn’t help but look at the scenery around me from a painter’s perspective – I kept looking at trees and birds and the ground and trying to figure out where I would set up shop if I were to paint or take a “real” (non- iPhone) photo of this.  (I haven’t worked with a “real” SLR camera since the digital age arrived and my kids were born – does anyone even develop real film anymore?!)

So. I’m missing my grandma today. And missing my lost love affair with art.

gma mc

Perhaps I’ll pull some of that out this weekend…


Follow-Up: On Sunday afternoon, while J was on a run, I set up an art party on the porch with the kiddos:

art party with kids

not that it's anything great, but this is what came out of me when I did some watercolor painting with the kids on Sunday


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What about you?

Has art or music ever served as a therapeutic tool in your life?  Have you ever lost a loved one and felt closer to them by using something that once belonged to them?

Please feel free to email me or share your experience to the comment section below.