This is the third or fourth post I’ve written, but not published, trying to illustrate some aspect of my life that is NOT about being a grandmother. For one thing, I can only describe that giant comfy chenille pastel cloud of a world so many times, and for another, there IS some aspect of my life that not about grandmothering, right? Right, I ask you? In other words, if a woman becomes a grandmother out in the woods and drops all her other creative pursuits, can anyone hear it?
And while I ponder this oh so first world dilemma of mine, life is moving on. Mornings which used to be for quiet reflection are now for face timing with an exuberant two year old. Days off, when I used to fool around with my camera and cook a couple of new recipes at once are now for going to The Children’s Museum with another little darling. The Memphis darling’s parents are both in school so naturally when I return from the Children’s Museum I do a couple of loads of laundry, not mine, and do a few dishes, also not mine. And pick up 4,000 toys. Also not mine.
Bliss. Except that on the inside there’s been this slow inner burn to paint, to get my hands in something and become gloriously lost and found in the process. With the wisdom that comes with being almost sixty years old I realized I would have to do something different or nothing different would happen. It felt similar of course to my years of raising children, during which I clumsily, erratically and guiltily tried to steal moments for myself while at the same time wondering why and how all these other mothers seemed so serene and content. Or why their children would agree to quietly color for hours while their Mommy painted or sewed. Sigh.
Without further ado I made plans to paint. First I needed some inspiration. For that I chose to visit The Dixon Gallery two weeks ago with some friends. We wanted to see the exhibit Fold by local artist Mary Jo Karimnia. This artists’s work is largely in fabrics and beads, juxtaposing domestic arts with that of costumes, largely influenced by her work in Bolivia. Surely Ms.Karimnia’s work
would have something to say to a grandmother, who while scraping dried oatmeal off her travertine floor, longs to experiment with extravagant color.
I was not disappointed, except when telling myself I could probably never afford any of her work. To make it easier on myself I relied just on my phone for a few snaps.
Ah, the shiny beads. Ah, the lovely stitches, the printed fabric. I think we all kept our hands behind our backs like second graders, lest we run our hands all over the work in a state of sensory bliss. I nearly swooned with a combination of adulation and regret that I did not own any of her work. Because we all need to be able to admire these in the privacy of our own homes.
Upon leaving that exhibit we went to the other current exhibit, Henri Guérard and the Phenomenon of the Artist’s Fan in France, 1875 –1900. During these years, Japanese art and decor were very popular in France. Artists painted on actual fans but also on fan shaped paper.
Having seen beaded finery in the first exhibit and artful fans in the second, we felt obliged to model some ourselves.
I know what you’re thinking: they were born too late. It’s true. I can really rock a white wig.
No visit to the Dixon is complete without a stroll through the lovely grounds.
On this day, in addition the blooming seasonal flowers, there was an exhibit of cotton plants. Our male companion grew up on a farm, so we two city girls were able to learn a bit about the cultivation of cotton from him. The pink bud in the pictures above is actually cotton. Who knew?
My mind swirled with colorful images as I left the museum on Sunday. On Monday morning I ran up the stairs in my pajamas, clutching my first cup of coffee, ready to seize the day. Before long I was making marks on an old canvas, thinking of orange flowers, blue beads, and golden shiny things. Then came a familiar trilling ring. It was time for my daily face time with Cameron and Micah.
Angling my laptop so that they could see, I went right on painting. I pretended I had my own painting show, which allowed me to entertain Micah the whole time his Mommy was preparing his breakfast. You just never know what you will see when you call your Mimi first thing in the morning.
Micah watched intently, but I’m not sure he knew what to make of my show. But no matter. After our phone call I mucked around a little more in the paint, and decided that was enough for the day. I was so pleased to get to scratch the ” HAVE TO PAINT” itch, and even more pleased that I didn’t have to paint all day long in order to have a pleasurable experience. As I washed my paint brushes and put them away, I marveled that it was still only 10:00 A.M. There would be lots of time to accomplish other things. “See?” I said to myself. “I’m a grandmother, but not ONLY a grandmother.”
And just then my phone rang. It was Lily’s Dad. “Mom, Lily’s school called me to come get her. She has pink eye. Can you keep her after I take her to the Doctor? I really need to do some school work.”
“Certainly. I’ll be right there!”