My relationship with my mother-in-law was probably the typical one that a son-in-law has with his wife’s mother, a relationship of giving each other a hard time but also laughing with each other too. But it isn’t my personal relationship that I want to talk about, it was her support of my art. Although I am sure that she questioned her daughter about marrying an artist, with that being such a solid career choice.
My mother-in-law supported my efforts from day one, she became a catalyst for my career. She was always one of the first people to purchase a new print as well as adding a few originals to her collection. Yes I know a family member buying your art isn't the same as a stranger buying a piece but when you walk through the halls of her house my work was almost on every wall. Honestly that always made me feel uncomfortable at family gatherings. She even bought my art to give as gifts to family and friends and it is because of this that I am writing this...
I was returning a dish to a neighbors house that was across the street from my mother-in-laws house and as I was talking to her I noticed a drawing on a tabletop easel in her foyer. Proudly set up to be the first thing you see as you come into the house. I of course did a double take at the drawing and the neighbor noticed and said as she looked at it, “She was so proud of you and always talked about her son-in-law the artist.”Having a family member own so many of my pieces of art has never meant so much to me as right now because I know I never expressed the proper amount of gratitude to her for being such a strong supporter of my art.
I would like to revisit one of my older paintings that I actually named after her, she had this beautiful planter in the back yard that was just asking to be painted so I of course found a bird and popped it into the composition and created “Joan’s Garden (Tufted Titmouse).” Such a simple piece for a truly wonderful person.
"That always seemed to be the most critical test that a child was confronted with - loss of parents, loss of direction, loss of love. Can you live without a mother and a father?"