My Dad

A good day for making effortless artwork.

Easeful and light.

Doing, "not doing."

Allowing the flower to bloom all by itself.

--a note my dad left for me in my studio one day

 a quick pencil sketch of my dad and my son cuddling on the couch

a quick pencil sketch of my dad and my son cuddling on the couch

A few supportive words can make such a difference, especially words spoken by a loving parent.   I will give you an example from my own life.  Eleven years ago, I was at a holiday party with my dad and a lot of people I didn't know very well.  I was a brand-new mother, and I think I spent most of the party sitting in a chair in the corner, nursing my infant daughter.  But at one point I remember overhearing my dad's voice rise slightly above the conversations and the music, and I heard him saying proudly to someone:

"My daughter is a painter."

I never heard the rest of the conversation, but it didn't matter.  I couldn't believe it!!  Did he really think I was a painter?  Even though I was someone who made paintings, I never would have called myself a painter at that time.  And yet, in that moment, I began to entertain the idea.  Hearing him describe me that way filled my heart with gratitude.  I don't think I ever told him how  happy his words made me, but afterwards, I always kept that memory with me.  Anytime I needed to, I could close my eyes and hear them again.  Those five words have given me support whenever I felt like I needed external validation.

And I still can hear them, to this day.

 another quick pencil sketch of my dad

another quick pencil sketch of my dad

Not everyone has a supportive dad, and I feel very lucky!  One of my favorite artists from the eighteenth century, Élisabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun, also had an encouraging dad.  Her dad, Louis Vigée, was a fan painter, and he was his daughter's first art teacher, as well as her staunch supporter.  When she was about seven or eight, she made a drawing of a man.  She wrote about his reaction:

"When my father saw it he went into transports of joy, exclaiming,

'You will be a painter, child, if ever there was one!'" 

 Drawing, 36.4 x 24.2 cm. Pushkin Museum, Moscow This may be a self portrait by Vigée Le Brun.    (See my blog post "  Divine Passion " for more about Le Brun.)

Drawing, 36.4 x 24.2 cm. Pushkin Museum, Moscow This may be a self portrait by Vigée Le Brun. 

(See my blog post "Divine Passion" for more about Le Brun.)

So... thank you to all the dads in the world who are loving and supportive!

And thanks especially to my dad, who left me this note recently in my studio, which I discovered with delight!

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Dear Lauren, 

A good day for making effortless artwork.  Easeful and light. 

Doing "not doing."  Allowing the flower to bloom all by itself.  

 My dad and I, playing Scottish music on the electric bagpipes and pennywhistle.

My dad and I, playing Scottish music on the electric bagpipes and pennywhistle.