I am blogging A to Z about artists, particularly women artists and mostly about my mother, Helen Burling Ottaway.
I am the daughter of an artist. My sister Chris and I had drawing lessons and paints and just about all of the art supplies you can imagine. Our mother either wore jeans and t-shirts with ink from etchings, or else was very dressed up for art shows or an opera or other festivities. She only wore make up for those times. My sister and I rebelled by refusing to call colors by their names and instead asking each other for the “boy” crayon or the “girl” crayon. We had all the colors divided in male and female. My mother was outraged. “Green is not a boy color.” We just ignored her and kept doing it.
We did learn, though. The picture today is of two postcards. This is a photograph of two color xeroxes, because I don’t have the originals with me. My mother did the lower one and I did the upper one. You can see how much she influenced me and how much I absorbed about water color technique.
I took a class two years ago, which turned out to be acrylics. My mother rather scorned acrylics though she was fine with crayons and crafts. I was painting and the teacher came to look over my shoulder. “They are not watercolors,” he said. “Yes, I know,” I said, “but I am using them like watercolors.” He laughed. Well, I know how to use watercolors and I don’t know much about acrylics. I know how to print etchings too and got an infected finger very young using the forbidden woodcut tools. I tried to hide it and the doctor yelled at both me and my mother. He scared me a lot.
My sister did beautiful art as well, also influenced by my mother. I think I only have one of her pieces.
Boy crayons and girl crayons. That’s just really funny!!!! And using acrylics like watercolor paints. That’s wonderfully creative. I bet that the effect is quite fantastic. I’ve never tried that.
I’m looking forward to lots of wonderful art from your posts this month (and stories to go with it).
Dividing colors into dual categories. How ethnological. Reminds me of ethnographic literature I read in grad school.
We were certainly savages, my sister and I.
We were certainly savages, my sister and I. Maybe all kids are.