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…