First I want to give props to Sarah Deragon of Portraits to the People. Today's painting is based on the poppies photo she shared on Instagram yesterday. I'm a big fan of Sarah's photography and I certainly asked her permission to use the photo as reference. She's a rock star.
Now, today's topic...my paint-by-number inspired, little old ladies portrait series is done (for now!) This series is really about strong women. These were four women in my life who taught me through example about being a strong, smart woman.
- top left - Adlyne - my maternal grandmother
- top right - Dorothy - my aunt
- bottom left - Elsia - my paternal grandmother
- bottom right - Goldie - my great aunt
Here's some great advice given by my grandma Elsia via a letter to my son when he was a toddler:
Thanks so much for the pictures. I am so glad to get them to see how much you have grown. I let the family see them then put them in my folder so I have a book about Eli. I am so glad you have books. There is so much fun for one who becomes a reader of books. Watch everything when you go for walks. The world is an interesting place and you are so lucky to have a mommy and daddy to show it to you. You are lucky you have a dog to love and respect. All kids need pets. I love you and I know you will grow up to be a fine, fun, loving boy.
She was right you know? He is a fine, fun, loving boy now. I don't really remember her telling stories like one might remember from a grandma's house. Instead I have a few letters like this one and a beautiful quilt that covered her bed for many years.
Looking back now I can see that she had a lot to teach me through the way she lived. She walked the dog and exercised every day. She kept canned food by her bed that she used as weights when she worked out. She ate simple foods, often from the garden. She read and wrote and helped her neighbors. She was a school teacher and often taught the most difficult to teach kind of kids. And she loved that. She could reach those kids when no one else could or even wanted to.
Each of these women has had a big impact on my life and my views of what it means to be a strong woman. I often think of my aunt Dorothy's advice for me when I got married. She said:
Go your own way. Do your own thing. Be happy.
And you know she was right too! I'm doing my own thing and it's made me very happy.