A Heritage of Creation

Over the holidays, our immediate family went to Kansas City, Missouri to visit some of the extended family. The weekend was calmer than our typical visits and I was pleased to get to see and spend time with more people than I usually do on those whirlwind trips, and more importantly, on an individual level.

One evening after driving through the fresh snow covering a deserted street in downtown Cameron, Missouri (population: 9,162), we ended up at my grandma’s house where we spent a few hours chatting and relaxing before heading back to the city. During the conversation, I admired one of the paintings on her wall – it was her own, done of Park College where she graduated in 1950. She has many years of painting and other forms of art under her belt (she also studied for a year at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts). This wasn’t news to me; I’d known all my life that my grandma was a great artist, but before that evening, I hadn’t really stopped to take inventory of her living space – to notice the multitude of her work.

A Lifetime of Creation

I glanced around, taking in the paintings that adorned every available spot, and realized that they were all her own (atleast ninety-five percent of them, anyway). In the past, she’d given so many away to the family (and others, I’m sure), that I hadn’t realized how many she’d kept. And it wasn’t just the paintings. She’s knitted, quilted, sewn and produced a whole collection of other creations that peek their heads out of just about every free corner of her home. Her life has been about creation.

When you consider the detail of just one painting, the craftsmanship is amazing. I can’t imagine how many years it took to hone that skill. I’m inspired by her work and dedication to perfect my own craft. But even more so, I want what she has. I don’t buy pictures or prints for the sake of filling bare walls. No, I want my living space to be covered in pieces of myself, in my own creations. I’m off to a start, working on my own art in more ways than one, but I still have a ways to go. I simply love the idea of being immersed in my art.

Thanks to my grandma, Betty Henderson, for letting me share her paintings.

Photo credit: Thanks to my dad, David Henderson, for taking all the pictures featured here.

8 thoughts on “A Heritage of Creation

  • Becca, those paintings are gorgeous! I’m terribly impressed, especially with the mill. And how lovely to be able to share art with your grandmother like that. In my ancestry, my great-grandmother was the most productive artist, and I love being able to look at her watercolors hanging in my mom’s house. But my great-grandmother died before I was able to hold a pencil, much less a brush. Still, I very much enjoy knowing that her talent has passed down through the generations. (My grandma drew, and my mom paints, too. 🙂 )

    • Neither of my parents are artistic. Coming from a more left-brained family, it’s encouraging to connect with other kindred spirits. I’ve always seen my grandma as my one strong link to my creative gene.

      • It’s funny, but my mom is left-brained, too — but she still has this artistic side that she’s buried for years. She quit painting when I was a baby and only started up again about 2 years ago. Is it possible to be ambidextrous-brained? I feel like I am, sometimes!

        • I feel the same way, too. I love outlines and organizing things. I’m a problem-solver. I have a very logical thinking process…probably why I took interior design and why I did so well at an architectural firm, a job that required so much of both.

          I think being ambidextrous-brained is the best of both worlds. 🙂

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