February 18, 2008

The tale of the ancient Oyster

Oyster with lemon - 1976 - 5" x 7" - oil on canvas

I owe my artistic voyage to my mother’s side of the family. My mother, a tall, slender, attractive woman was, in her youth, a runway model and actress. Of her two brothers one was a fashion and costume designer who later went on to become one of the most celebrated operatic directors of our time. The other earned a PhD in German literature, was an orchestral conductor, Gilbert and Sullivan scholar, gourmet cook and was also well versed in the visual arts. With all this creative influence, is it any wonder that my father, an electrician, feared for my future? Did I mention that one of my uncles was gay? OMG! Some of his fears were assuaged when I got married and fathered a child at the tender age of twenty one, but that’s another story. Suffice it to say that my mother's side of the family won out as far as my becoming an artist and not an electrician. In truth, now that I am a home owner, I wish that I had paid more attention to Dad growing up. I could have learned much on those days that I accompanied him on electrical jobs. He knew that I would never starve (or still be living at home at 30) with such a skill.

We lost Mom in 1985 and I always think of the “Blondie” song – “Die young, stay pretty.” Uncle John recently succumbed to cancer and he, too, is gone. I went to visit my Uncle Bob in Birmingham, Alabama this past weekend. No small amount of my early creative efforts resides there with him. I was struck with just how many “daily paintings” I had done in my youth. There were peppers and onions and crawfish and crabs and loaves of bread and oysters. Yes, even in my early twenties the lowly bi-valve held an irresistible fascination. I can thank Dad for introducing me to them many years ago by taking me to bull and oyster roasts at the American Legion. This painting is one I did back in 1976 at the age of 23. Look for new work tomorrow.

3 comments:

Diane said...

lovely to see the oysters of your youth ... your bi-valve tradition has become refined and skilled .. and always a delight

wangfineart said...

Love it!

Diana Moses Botkin said...

Impressive work, esp. for a young artist.