I have an oil painting of a naked woman on my wall…

Not a very auspicious start to a blog post. It all goes back to my father and mother who, in their thirties, were friends with a rather bohemian crowd and rubbed elbows with a starving artist with lots of kids our ages. Perfect family fit right? Do lots of beach time and bar-b-cues so the kids can entertain each other?

Except as kids, we didn’t really connect as well as our parents. I couldn’t tell you one significant fact about how many there were or their genders. What I have to remember them by is a naked portrait of their mother. Mind you, it is a lovely, dark, oil in a suitably shabby-chic frame. The subject is young and rubenesque.  It’s just not a piece of art I’m overly enamored with.

Lots of what I find myself surrounded by, is pieces of other people’s lives that I somehow inherited. Perhaps I am dragging around ghosts that need to be released and their earthly assets sent to a more rightful owner?

This painter produced portraits of us kids over the years. My sister has a splendid pastel of herself holding a favored doll at about 2 years old. I am the proud owner of charcoal sketches of my brother and I at pre-pubescent ages.  It’s not that he wasn’t a good artist; he was undiscovered. My parents bought landscapes, water colors, oils, sketches and pastels. They did their part to support his talent. I was deemed, for whatever reason, the artistic child of the three, resulting in my enrollment in his children’s art school. I remember distinctly one session where we were instructed to model an animal out of clay. The other students made elaborate elephants, giraffes or other exotic beings. The figure I came up with was a dachshund – lots of rolled logs stuck together to form a dog. Perhaps I should have been swapped out for either my brother or sister on the piano lessons? Artistically inclined was never to appear on my résumé. I can’t carry a tune in a recycled grocery bag, yet I sing to my dogs.

My choices in art over the years have included bits and pieces of everywhere I have lived. As family members have departed, I’ve come into possession of their choices. If anyone knows the children of Richard Michael Gibney, an artist who once lived in Newburyport, MA, please tell them I own a painting I’d like them to have…


16 thoughts on “I have an oil painting of a naked woman on my wall…

    • Awkward is the perfect word, but she’s just not yard-sale material now is she? I’m hoping someone, somewhere will feel the uncontrollable urge to have this little beauty on their wall. No offense to my parent’s taste in art…

  1. Martha, I love this post! And that you ended up with the portrait of the naked lady is pretty hilarious. My parents also ran with a rather bohemian crowd. Neighbors thought it scandalous (in those days), that a woman would wear long, dangling earrings. When we went on vacation, many of our clothes ended up in paper grocery bags which they referred to as their “bohemian luggage.” But we didn’t have a naked lady painting. Our loss. 🙂 Hope you find the owners. ~Terri

  2. Good luck with your search. Thankfully my parents were not into art so the pictures on my walls are of my own choosing. Having said that we have inherited a framed print from Commando’s mother. Not really to my taste but innocuous enough. Commando is not in love with it either so I think we may sell it. Our poor children are going to inherit more art than they know what to do with. Not to mention all the stuff picked up on my travels, wooden things, Moroccan and Turkish lamps, alabaster scarabs and vases. Let’s hope they like them.

    • Wouldn’t it be fun to be a fly on the wall when we are gone and our kids divide up the stuff we have left behind? I have “treasures” from my years of living overseas that I’m quite sure will end up in a yard sale or the dump!!

      • Please contact me.. Richard was by grandfather.. i can get it mom his daughter…

      • Not sure how i can confidentially give you my information on this site? Curt

  3. Richard was my uncle. How kids are my cousins Candy, Michael, and Philip (called Sean). We’re you ever able to get in touch with them? Uncle Dick became very well-known for being a WWII combat artist. In my house he was famous for calling at 3 a.m. He’d be up all night painting and not the think about the time.

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