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I was painting in watercolor at a local gallery that represents some of my work; demonstrating techniques and talking with customers as they came by. https://www.facebook.com/MH-Custom-Framing-and-Gallery-Inc-123395394365184/?fref=ts is a lovely place to hang out.DSCN5209

A woman approached to chat about my work with me as she waited her turn with the master framer, Karen Lentz.

She told me she was having two watercolors framed for her daughter as a wedding gift. They were found in a large tablet of completed paintings, up in the attic of her grandparent’s home, created by a grandmother she had never met. All of the family’s children were asking for a painting or two from the tablet, and they were going fast.

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I asked to see them and she showed me the work. The art was lovely, all landscapes, all filled with color and light and obviously painted with great love for what the artist was seeing. There were mountains and valleys, streams and rivers, shores and fields and forests- very much what I love to see and paint myself.

“I never met my grandmother, but this I have heard. Though she worked full time, painting was her love. She never showed her work anywhere. She loved to travel with my grandfather, and as they drove she would suddenly ask him to stop the car and pull over so she could photograph the view. Then she would go home and later paint from the photos. She had a small upstairs studio, and the stairs up were lined with labeled photos of all the places and the people she loved. She passed away before my time. We all love her work.”

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The woman sounded much like me. I create much of my work from the places I camp and hike in. My husband will tell you of how I ask him suddenly to stop the car so that I can get out, observe a scene, and photograph it, all the while saying, “look at that light! look at the color on the water! Oh my gosh, it is so beautiful here!” Yes, I am a nature freak.

The unknown artist’s work seemed to show an identical love for nature. Seemed to show her visual excitement for the gifts we are given by our beautiful earth, a joy I celebrate myself. I felt a deep kindred spirit with this lady, who painted for herself and never got to show her work.

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But now her descendants were sharing it, seeing it, celebrating her talent by hanging it in their homes. What a legacy she left, what a joyful place for her art to have gone… I wonder if she knows?

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Bridge to Devil’s Den, from a lovely camping trip by a stream.

Artists create because they are compelled to. They simply must express the world through their medium. They do not get a choice for if they do not create a big part of their spirits feel lost, incomplete, deadened. It is a challenging way to be, but all part of the wonderful journey.

Paint on.