Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Do you love the water?

Are you one of those landlocked Americans that desperately loves the ocean?  My poor mother was.  She grew up in Boston and when she moved to Iowa at the age of 20, that was really difficult for her.  When she and Dad purchased the cabin, one of the features that was definitely an extraordinary gift for her was the fact that it was right on a beautiful river.  She could walk down, put her feet in the water and feel the freedom that the flowing river offered.  We three kids spent a lot of time in the river.  A lot of time!!!  And as you've seen in past posts, the river has spent time in our meadow.  We have quite the intimate relationship with it.

As I lay in bed last night, I was chuckling.  Hanging over the bed is this painting.  Yes ... it's black velvet.  No, I have no idea why we have it, except that Dad liked the image and the only place mom would let him hang it was here at the cabin where only very good and trusted friends might see it.  If they laughed, it was when he wasn't looking.  I don't know that he ever understood the hilarity behind it.

Now, hanging at the head of the same bed is that small painting of a mountain lake.  We're really not certain whether Mom painted it or not.  It kind of looks like her work and I can't imagine we have a painting on a canvas without a frame if she didn't paint it.

Then, hanging over the area where I work is this amazing painting.  It is six foot long by more than 3 feet high.  Mom had stories to tell about this painting.  You'll notice a backpack in the lower left up against the tree.  She painted this from a photo that was taken on a youth group trip to the Boundary Waters canoe area.  Now, see that little island out there in the middle?  Mom had an interesting relationship with the kids in our youth groups - the boys especially.  It's a good thing Dad was around most of the time - he managed to save her from most of their hideous tormenting.

When they got to this area, she had to go to the bathroom and there was no place readily available for privacy.  She begged one of the young men to take her out.  As soon as she got out of the canoe, he left and came back to the mainland.  Of course she didn't realize it right away ... but, when she did ... all Dad heard was his name bellowed quite loudly.  He laughed all the way out to get her, but he did go.  

This painting was a labor of love for her and it always had a prominent place in our homes.  When Dad died, it was the only thing we really cared about retrieving and since there are three of us kids, it seemed as if the cabin was the perfect place for it to hang.

As I look back, Mom always found ways for us to be in the water, around water or on the water.  We lived at the swimming pool, before we moved to a town that had a public pool, we always had an immense pool in the backyard.  We learned to swim in a lake nearby and whenever we were visiting out east, we spent time at the ocean.

I guess I never realized how much of an attraction the water had for Mom, but when I started looking at these paintings, I put it all together - and tonight, I shared!


Fran said...

I'm pretty sure your Mom and I would have had great fun in the water together. I am a true fish too when I can be.

pj brand said...

i have two paintings that i got some time ago when a neighbor moved away they both have the same frame as the top painting on your page and both are signed artist maria and thats it i wondered if they are your work one is a mountain scene and the other a ship seen through a cave entrance.