Wednesday, September 11, 2013

It's about the dresses

It's about the dresses was originally published in July, 2011
Golden Years 9x9 inch framed, a painting of my grandmother, and the first in my series
Women I Might Have Known
My grandmother was a talented and resourceful woman. I was young when she passed away so my relationship with her was a variety of tiny memories swirling around that occasionally become defined by stories from my older brother and sister. I remember she sewed and she quilted. I think she moved often when she was younger, and never had a home long enough or a yard big enough to establish a garden. If she could have gardened, I would guess that she would have grown vegetables before she would have invested in flowers. But I like to think she had a lot of flowers growing and there's a reason for that assumption.
I am most fortunate to have one of the quilts she made. My grandmother was a frugal woman.She recycled her worn dresses, cutting the best parts from them to piece her quilt tops. My quilt is a summer garden exploding with every color, surrounded in sunshine and bordered with a blue sky and points. Each of those little flower design pieces are snapshot memories of my grandmother. As I remember the trim of an apron, or the length of a summer dress, she becomes a real person to me, and her love of flowers becomes fact.

When I started this series of Women I Might have Known, I knew something would solidify my project. I've made half a dozen paintings in this series now and I'm pretty sure it's about the dresses. My grandmother wore floral print dresses with aprons trimmed in bands of more flowers. She was from an era of orchid corsages for Easter and special occasions, and pretty little caplet hats embellished with flowers for Sunday mornings and special occasions. I remember that she had a a quilt frame that she lowered from the ceiling to move her chair around and stitch. She had a treadle sewing machine that seemed dangerous to me. She had two purses, and one of them had Bazooka Bubble Gum in it and I believed I was the only person who knew it. But always when I think of her, she is wearing a floral print dress.

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