Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Side Yard

Oil on board, 6" x 6"
$125.00 + $6.00 shipping in US.
Available for purchase starting 10/07/08, 12 noon PST

This is the little house I grew up in. A few years ago my mother had to leave it to go into foster care (she's 98 and doing pretty well, bless her!)

Shortly after she moved, I went through the house inside and out taking photos. I've had in the back of my mind doing a group of related paintings, but always seem to find some excuse not to start. Sometimes a subject can almost be TOO personal, if you know what I mean.

Anyway, I'm hopeful that starting small with some studies like this one might help me kickstart the project.

18 comments:

Martha Miller said...

This could be a natural extension of your ancestor paintings, moving you more forward on the time line that is your life history. Do you think that sometimes the hesitation of making work that is so personal is perhaps the fear of feeling the emotions which will inevitably come up? Fear may be strong of a word - maybe reluctance? I hope that you keep going with this - I could see the ancestor paintings merging here somehow...
Rich terrain, indeed!

Martha Miller said...

too strong of a word, i meant to type...

Dar Presto said...

This felt warm and nostalgic even before I read the history. Both house and tree offer a sense of shelter. I like the human scale and the strong sense of being there.

JEANNE ILLENYE said...

FANTASTIC!!! Keep going on this series! We want to see more! :o) Jeanne

Anonymous said...

Don, I understand the nostalgia you feel. I had a trip back to my youth last year when I traveled to Wisconsin and was fortunate enough to meet the current owner of the house I grew up in. He graciously invited me inside. The HUGE home I remembered had shrunk over time. But memories arose immediately, the stair case we slid down, the cellar door, the secret cold air register that allowed us to listen in on conversations downstairs - the years suddenly melted away. A memorable experience! I look forward to more glimpses into your past. Ann LaR.

artistbarb said...

You will be glad you did. Lately, I have been compelled to go back to Iowa, and Mothers house before she went to the hospital. I often go back to the county website and I have learned much about the early history that I never cared about when I was young. Bless your Mom! Barb

kim shields said...

Sometimes I have a painting I want to do so bad, it means so much to me, I am afraid to start it because I want it to turn out a great piece and I am afraid I will not do the justice it deserves. I bet your Mom would love to see you do these paintings.

Don Gray said...

Martha, I think you're exactly right. In my case the fear is not of dredging up memories of abuse, or anything like that. I was the baby of the family, shamelessly spoiled and coddled. My memories are of a pretty untroubled childhood. But visiting the subject uncorks intense nostalgia over the passage of time and change, my father and sister and other family member's lives and passings, etc.

I've thought a lot about the ancestor ideas merging with this imagery, as you mentioned. I would like for that to happen...we'll see!

Don Gray said...

Thanks a lot, Dar--glad you had that reaction.

Don Gray said...

Thanks for the encouragement, Jeanne!

Don Gray said...

Ann, how great that you were able to revisit your old home--intense memories, I'm sure.

It IS amazing how much smaller things seem than they did in childhood. A few years ago we were driving down a country road in North Carolina, looking for my wife's childhood home which she left at age five. Brenda recalled that the home had a long driveway with a huge front lawn. When we found it, the house sat about thirty feet off the road!

Don Gray said...

Thank you, Barb. We're not interested in such stuff when young. Only later do we give more reflection to the past.

Don Gray said...

I know just what you mean, Kim. I think that's probably part of my hesitation as well. Thanks for the visit.

m collier said...

This is WONDERFUL !!!!

Martha Miller said...

yes, "uncork" is a good term! it can be overwhelming! at our age though, don't you think that we can look at our lives with less reactivity? i think we get more rooted and grounded and able to examine and accept the whole package without becoming undone and with more compassion than when we were younger...

Don Gray said...

Hi M--thanks a lot!

Don Gray said...

I think that's absolutely true, Martha. Thanks for your thoughts.

http://www.onpainting.wordpress.com said...

This is really a nice painting. It feels like so many places in America.