A Counter Arts Prompt Response
A Family of Artisans Speak to Me
Art from the past and the present
The simple answer to the question, “What is art to you?” is, for me, family.
Historical photos of family adorn my studio walls; a long line of artisans that have imparted their love of the arts, and the joy of creation. I am a direct descendant of some inspirational people; some I knew briefly, and many who stuck around long enough for me to embrace their essence; to light a personal fire that compelled me to honour them in some small way, with my own creations.
My great grandfather was a prolific and prominent New Zealand artist (1864–1929). He primarily painted in oils, but began painting with watercolor later in his career. He was also a recluse, often leaving his family for months at a time to ride his bicycle all over New Zealand, with art materials strapped to his back, in search of the perfect landscape.
WG Baker’s son, my grandfather, also liked to paint and my home is a testament to him and his father’s artistic work. Grandfather worked in his father’s shadow to some degree, but he developed a wide reputation for the gorgeous and intricately hand-carved furniture he produced in his Wellington studio. My childhood home was filled with his works and today, one of his paintings, my favourite, hangs in my own home.
Being surrounded as I was, with examples of my family’s creative works, I felt compelled to try my hand at oil and watercolor painting, but whilst I truly appreciate other peoples’ work, I confess, I am a tech nerd, and drifted towards digital art. Let’s face it — working on a computer negates the need for a lot of expensive materials and, of course, clean-up. I think my husband was quite pleased when I ditched the oils for a modern approach. The smell of oil paint no longer permeates the house!
Live music was my equal first love, next to writing, in my youth. The music passion did create a fire in my belly, and I had plenty of family musical artisans to emulate. A long line of singers and musicians encouraged my foray into formal music studies as a youngster, and I ventured into popular music as I grew older, as a singer/bass player, entertaining in clubs and pubs. Side note: this is how I met my husband.
There is no doubt that the passion continued for many years, with DSM at my side, and was the foundation of our relationship. We passed our interest in live performance to our children, who are all competent musicians and singers, some of whom write and perform their own music. It is a great joy to see talent flourish that I can personally lay claim to. Nature helped with passing the genetic ability, but I learned the passion through example and encouragement.
Daily, my husband still plays the guitar– his beautiful instrumentals are a soundtrack to my world; musical inspiration that encourages me to continue my personal creative pursuits. His music is a constant reminder of the passion and love that brought us together as a couple.
Strangely, there weren’t many, if any, writers in my family. This passion is my own and has been a fire in my belly from an extremely early age. I was a voracious reader as a child and did my best to attract attention during my formative years with written articles, speeches, and stories from my imagination.
One of my adult children is a talented author with a passion for inspirational writing. I take full credit. :)
It wasn’t my intention to ‘blow my own trumpet’ in this writing prompt, but I must bring to it my interpretation of what inspires me, and what speaks to me.
I reiterate, family. The artisans of my youth spoke volumes through their creativity and their passion for beautifying the world with their work. They continue to influence me today, no matter what project I am undertaking. I mentally seek their guidance and listen for creative inspiration from my ancestors. This is what fuels me; this is the stuff that fills my waking and sleeping dreams.
At night when I close my eyes, I sometimes hop aboard my great grandfather’s bicycle and peddle with him into the unknown, to experience something new and wonderful that will eventually find its way onto my word processor.
When I bring those ideas back to the real world, I know my ancestors are watching on, encouraging and joyful — their passion for the arts is still alive!
Thank you to Christopher Robin for the tag.