Wednesday, August 15, 2007

DNA

Inspire Me Thursday's current prompt is "DNA". For some reason this one really stumped me creatively, but had me thinking and pondering on it all week. I admit I never even tried to do an ATC, or even a "regular" drawing or painting based on it. I just couldn't think of where to start. I finally hit on various ideas for photoshop and photo's, and every time I tried nothing worked the way I envisioned it. Let's see...I wanted to relay some scattered thoughts on what we inherit from our parents, ancestors, etc.... I wanted to share how much I think I look like my dad. Most people that knew him often tell me I look like him. When I was younger it was an insult, and as I've grown older it's a compliment. Funny how that works.

I know that in many ways, the fact that I am an artist is due largely to my father's influence. He was a professor by trade, teaching Theatre. His emphasis was playwrighting, and he was also a writer of poetry and a teller of stories. He also had this "secret" wish to be a painter. One of his most "famous" stories that I heard countless times growing up, and never ceased to love hearing was of how he came to major in Theatre. Dad was not unlike many people today... he started college straight away, quit, joined the army, went back to college. When he went back he was torn between going to school for art, or for theatre. He figured he would apply to a couple of Universities, and that surely one would turn him down, and that would help in his decision. But they both accepted him. UCLA and um, I can never remember the second...another Southern California one...he had definitely settled in California. So faced with this decision he decided to do the only reasonable thing and flip a coin. Now I don't remember which was heads and which was tails, though he certainly would have. He was a stickler for details. I remember always getting lost in the story at this point because I just couldn't believe someone could actually flip a coin and stick to it. I do remember that it was a fifty cent piece, and that he often carried one in his pocket throughout my life. (Though sadly not the one.) It came up theatre, and UCLA and that's where he met my mom. So this was to be his fate.

When he was old, a year or so before he died, we both taught at a little college in Arizona. I discovered there that I did not want to be a teacher like him, that I had definitely grown tired of theatre, though I had doggedly gotten my degree in it by that time in an effort to follow in his footsteps I suppose. I remember the day and being in his old car with him when I finally mustered up the nerve to tell him I was not meant to be a teacher, or at least a teacher of theatre. He had lured me into trying to revive a theatre program in a little community college. One of his greatest passions always seemed to be trying to get a theatre program started up somewhere or another, or being part of one being started up. I also remember distinctly what he told me when I told him I didn't want to continue teaching theatre there, that I wanted to move back to Kansas, (and that I just wanted to be an artist...) He said "I don't care what any of my children 'do', as long as they quit asking me for money!". It makes me laugh to this day. Poor dad. I think he had never counted on the fact that if he taught all of his children to follow their dreams that they might end up poor. ;) During that time that was to be the last year or two of his life he finally decided to paint again. I'm not sure what drove him to it, but something did. I've often thought it was the return of a painting he had done before he was married that a friend had bought. The friend died, and then the wife, and the children sent it back to dad as a gift. I am lucky enough to have that painting. (It took awhile to get my mom to give it up...but for some reason she finally gave in to my plea.) He asked me to take a class with him, so we signed up for a watercolor class together. He liked the man teaching it, and as I recall there weren't a lot of painting classes offered. He had always painted with oils in his past painting life, so this was somewhat new to him. We had a lot of fun in that class. He would sit patiently and intently listen to the knowledge that was being imparted to him about shadow and light and whatnot...and then he would paint any damned thing he pleased. If he didn't feel like painting the bowl of fruit in front of him, he wouldn't. Come to think of it...our painting styles are very similar that way. We both paint(ed) from the imagination and not so much from a subject in front of us. I, of course, followed the assignments. But not him. He pulled the "old" card, and it worked and he had every right to it. I often wonder what the other people in that class thought of us two, sitting side by side and chatting. From that class I have a handful of painting's. He produced ten handful's. The amount he painted was amazing, and he started painting at home quite a bit too. I think all of us kids have one or two, though I could be wrong. I know mom has them tucked away. There's this one....

but that's another story and I would want to post the painting, so let me clean up and look for it and I'll post it another day...



click on the pic for best resolution



check out other DNA projects here.

6 comments:

Pattie Mosca said...

This was well worth the wait! Both the story and the photo! It is a marvelous tribute to your dad and yourself...GREAT DNA!

Royce Addington: said...

I whole-heartedly agree with Pattie Mosca; well worth the wait! I'm so glad the ' being stumped' transformed into 'spectacular'! The story is poignant. Loving. It gives the reader a very real sense of your Dad. The fusion of your image with his is breath-taking. Both together = A 5-star WOW factor!

Cheryl said...

Oh, Miriam, this is such a wonderful story, and your life is so much richer for having had such a man for a Dad. And he was lucky to have a daughter who would honor him in such a beautiful way! I also love your photographic tribute to him!

Deb G said...

This is just lovely...what a wonderful experience taking that class with your father must of been.

Julia said...

I love the mirroring in the picture and sure you look like your dad! And that's a compliment! :)

L.M.Noonan said...

Wonderful post and photo