I was Christmas shopping at a local craft show this weekend and I didn’t find anything I thought my particular giftee would like. This is a common problem with me because I always find stuff that I want but not stuff that I think my children and grandchildren would appreciate. But for the love of art, I continue to support local shows.
So, inevitably, I bought a couple of things for me.
A gorgeous impressionistic painting on cardboard, of a trailer sitting in an idyllic pastoral setting, captured my heart. I fell in love with it not only because it reminds me of what I love about RV living. Or because it was only $5. The young woman who had it on her table, along with several other paintings on cardboard, told me the story behind it.
All the paintings were done by a 90-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s.
This struck a chord deep within me. My grandma was an artist and painted with oils until her lungs could no longer handle the fumes. Then she switched to watercolors. Except she did not like working with watercolors. She found that acrylics were a good compromise and painted in acrylic for the rest of her life. I have many of her canvases and enjoy them very much.
Grandma created this work in colored pencil, with a clear protectant sprayed over. It is her take on the journey across Route 66 when she relocated from Minnesota to California in the ’60s. It hung above the sofa where I took my naps when I was small and I often fell asleep daydreaming about riding horses across the desert.
The young vendor’s story also reminded me of my 90 something-year-old friend in Arizona, who was also an artist until the end of her life. She, too, often underpriced her work and gave much of it away. I hate to wonder what happened to the many canvases in her studio after her death. For the love of art, I hope they went to good homes. I know I have a half dozen of her works in my house and I’m very fond of admiring them.
This painting by EmmaLou depicts cowboys and their horses negotiating the muddy washes and foothills of Northern Arizona. It calls to mind my 15 years of adventure there, raising all manner of critters on a 10-acre homestead. And enduring crazy monsoon lightning storms.
So I bought this one even though I didn’t need it. I absolutely love it. I gave the girl a little bit extra to give to her 90-year-old friend in appreciation of her work and persistence in continuing to create despite the difficulties of Alzheimer’s.