June 18, 2010

I’ve been thinking about my Dad lately.  Perhaps in part that we are nearing Father’s Day.  My sister has posted old photos of him on Facebook this week, as well, so his visage is on my mind in many ways.  Hard to believe he’s been gone for 4 years now, and just like many people, I can indulge in thousands of images and sensory experiences from my time of knowing him.  I suppose that is all we are left in the end.  Our memories and how clearly they still pulse in our space.

One of the things I wonder about now is; what would Dad think of my leaping into the world of art and the unknown??  Would he be pleased or would he worry??  I tend to think that he would be envious.  My father always wanted to be ‘an artist’, and then seen as such, to boot.  He dabbled in pen and ink drawings of owls, landscapes, and the like.  He had a series of ‘thumb funs’ published in the local paper, and there are numerous watercolor paintings around of his work.  I know, too, that he never felt like his work was ‘good enough’.  He often griped about being told he was just a ‘technician’ from an artist he clearly respected, and, indeed, he wanted higher praise in lieu of this title.

What my father had, though, was artistry in his teaching and his interactions with people.  I think that many people fail to realize that being an artist is much more than just the literal translation of the word.  It is much more than being able to paint, or draw or sculpt.  My father was adept and skilled and ‘painterly’ as he lectured and sketched his notes across the blackboard.  I know this first hand as I had him for class at Westminster all those years ago.  His use of colored chalk and his flourishes of arrows and symbols emphasized an already mesmerizing lecture about evaporation, osmosis, soil composition, and any other topic on biology you can imagine.  He was a Master.

I spoke at his memorial that May of 2006 at the Churchill Memorial on Westminster campus.  People from all over attended.  Former students, colleagues, friends, and neighbors were there, and it was standing room only.  I was in awe of his impact on this world and in their lives.

If I can add one smidgen of his influence in my time here with my art, then perhaps I will have done something.  I will have contributed. Maybe I will be able to call myself an artist.

My father was an Artist.

Afterall, Dad…it’s just a word.  You made it real…

Me, Dad and Sara... a long time ago...


One Response to “HWW”

  1. Sara Beth said

    Wonderful writing of memories of your Dad. Years ago when I first got enagaged he made me a “thumb fun” strip. It showed a jogger (me) with carrots on her finger runnnig down W.7th–captioned she’ll be jogging with 2 carrots. Clever and an artist.

    Yes, you are an artist and I want a Face by Alison. I’m just not sure which one. I look at them daily and ponder which mood I will choose. Will it be one to reflect me when contemplative, pleasant, sad or breezy? Or one just the oppoisite? One I would want to see myself as. I think I will have to have more than one! Thanks for sharing your art with the world.
    Sara B

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