Mothers’ Day is not a big deal in our house. The husband does not believe we should let Hallmark dictate when to say, “I love you,” since we tell each other that every day. I don’t disagree, but sometimes these holidays sneak up on you and leave an impression. This year, I’m guessing due to this crazy quarantine/deadly virus issue, I’m missing my mom more than usual. Ellen Medart MacNary was a graduate of Wash U’s art school and continued to paint throughout her life. I don’t know if she had any formal training in watercolors (I doubt it), but she seemed to pick it up effortlessly. I would watch her and sometimes try to copy what she was doing, without a tremendous amount of luck. Good thing I dropped my studio art aspirations for art history, which gave my father much relief since he felt he had watched Mom “suffer” as an artist to gain recognition. He veritably begged me not to major in studio art at the College of Wooster.
During our summer vacations, either sailing in Maine and Nova Scotia, or camping in any number of places with our trusty VW bus (the regular one, not the camper one) and two tents, Mom brought watercolors with her. She carried a small tackle box full of brushes and tubes, along with a small palette, and a block of watercolor paper. When we anchored for the night, or set up camp somewhere, she would pull out her paints and jot off something like it was nothing.
In one of the watercolors you can see a little girl sitting at a picnic table. Mom and I were driving to Nova Scotia to collect the rest of the family as they disembarked from a trip sailing my grandfather’s Concordia Yawl, Westray, from Maine to Nova Scotia (another family would take her from there). I think that drive, and the several nights we camped along the way, was the only time I ever traveled with Mom by myself. Boy, was that a treat.
There are a good number of Mom’s watercolors out there in the world and are prized possessions. At my house, most of them are resting in the dark at the moment (watercolor is highly susceptible to light damage), so when I pulled them out to photograph them, it was lovely to see the group together. I especially love the one of me sitting at that picnic table.
Ann's art blog
A small corner of the interwebs to share thoughts on objects I acquired for the Baltimore Museum of Art's collection, research I've done on Stanley William Hayter and Atelier 17, experiments in intaglio printmaking, and the Baltimore Contemporary Print Fair.