My mother’s side of the family was small. She was an only child. My grandmother on my mother’s side had one sister. I called her aunt Alma but she was really my great aunt, but who calls someone great aunt, even as a child.
I grew up fascinated by her love of art. She was an artist and a member of the Plastic Club of Philadelphia. She even traveled abroad and painted on location. She would bring my sister and I dolls from Italy and Spain. I remember seeing her art as a child, as she showed my mother her work. I was not intrigued by the art as much as by her passion for art. It was so much a part of her life.
She would never know how instrumental she was in my life in those young years. She died of an aneurism when I was a teenager, and not even I knew I would carry on her legacy.
I dabbled in art like every child does. As an adult, I never really took any steps to claim it for my own until my thirties. I think I was afraid I couldn’t live up to my aunt’s legacy. I loved creative things and I was truly inspired by them. When my aunt died, I inherited a dozen or so of her paintings. I studied them constantly.
I ventured into other areas of creativity. I did crafts and home decorating with ease, enjoying the creative things I could come up with for years.. It somewhat quenched the thirst I had for the art I was longing for, but I kept painting at a distance.
When I turned 30, I came to the realization that I needed art more than ever. I felt the time had come to discover what it was that my aunt possessed. I was in a bad marriage, and I was very unhappy. I was an at home mom and the kids were in school all day. I went to the library and began borrowing every book on watercolor painting that I could find. I went out and bought a set of watercolor paints, paper and a ton of other things I needed to start. I was skeptical though.
I practiced the techniques, and began painting. I found a peacefulness that I had never known before. I used music to set the moods for my paintings. I began painting for long hours, getting lost in the process, watching the paint come alive on the paper. Painting gave me hope and brought so much joy back into my life when I needed it most. I don’t think I can ever fill my aunt’s shoes, but I can help keep her love of painting alive in me.
What I’ve learned through painting was a gift from my aunt. It was a silent influence she never knew she gave me. I kept it in the depths of my soul, until I needed it. I have learned that when I create something from nothing somehow anything becomes possible. My paintings are a part of my very soul.