From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Abundance Remembered

All In The Family... And What I Think About It... Life in the Nebraska Sandhills



Ranch scene by Cleona AllenMy Aunt Cleona had never painted in her life until she was in her 60's. After her husband passed away, she bought some good brushes and paints and started having fun with them. She likes to paint on wood rather than canvas.

She painted the ranch scene at left and gave it to my mom after my dad passed away, On the back, she wrote that it was her gift to our family in memory of my father and she signed and dated it.

It doesn't really look much like the ranch near Moon Lake in northern Nebraska where Aunt Cleona grew up with my dad and Uncle Harold. Still, it has many details that I'm sure she remembered from her childhood -- the big blue sky, hills in the background, barbed wire fences, a two-track dirt ranch road, a feed trough, a windmill with water spilling out of its tank, cattle grazing on the meadow, and a mailbox.

It's not "great" art. It is a true primitive painting because my aunt has had no formal training. It's colorful, interesting, neatly-done, and the perspective is a little skewed. I think the scene represents the abundance of the simple ranch life, and I know it was remembered and painted with love.

My aunt told me that if I thought I had any gift for art, I should not wait until I was 60-some years old to start using it, like she did. I agree, but on the other hand, I'm proud of her for boldly picking up the paintbrush when she did.

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2 comments:

Wrkinprogress said...

Personally, I find that painting to be a beautifully done primitive, and the fact that your aunt did it in memory of your dad makes it all the more beautiful.

Why wait until you're 60 to pick up a paint brush, though? No time like the present!!

PS -- How's Dennis?

Genevieve said...

Dennis has been catching up on R&R and getting back in touch with America. He's doing fine. Thanks for asking.

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