A Gift Given, A Gift Received

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April 12, 2015

Our family celebrated my birthday this past week and are looking forward to celebrating the college graduation of a granddaughter next month.  Both of these celebrations can be occasions for gift giving.

One of the ways I make space for new paintings on the walls of my basement gallery is to give paintings to my numerous grandchildren to celebrate academic milestones, such as high school and college graduations.  Since my granddaughter, who would soon graduate from college, was scheduled to appear at my birthday dinner I decided to use the occasion to let her pick out a painting as a graduation gift.  When I do this I am always surprised at the choice that is made.  It is never what I would have expected.

This young woman from Kansas, who had picked out a small painting of a field of sunflowers when she graduated from high school, now chose a 24″ x 30″ rather lurid depiction of sunset over the mountains near Santa Fe.  I have good memories of an evening at the outdoor Santa Fe Opera when I took the photo that inspired the painting.  However the painting itself is not one of my favorites.  I’m glad it has found a good home.

The same evening an 11-year-old grandson brought a gift to me to celebrate my birthday.  It was all his own idea.  His mom didn’t even know he had brought it.  It was, as pictured above, a set of art supplies, crayons, colored pencils, magic markers and watercolors.  He later explained that it was his, a gift I suppose, that he had hardly used.  He thought I might like it.

As I looked at it later, ideas began to form.  I haven’t done much sketching since I began to take photographs years ago.  I think part of the reason is that I so love color.  The sunset painting is an example of that.  But what if I sketched with colored pencils or even crayons or markers?  What if I took this box with me the next time I traveled?  I can’t walk for as long as I used to.  It would be a good excuse to sit down and rest.  Grandson, you may have started me in a new artistic direction.



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