As far back as I know of, there have been three generations of artists in my family. My maternal grandmother was very creative and often trying new things. She eventually settled on her own ceramics shop in the town of Merced, CA. It was a great place for a little girl like me to roam and imagine.
The interesting thing is that my grandmother didn’t just “settle” for the images as they came out of the mold like many people do. She added her own flair. She would take a small sharp needle-like tool and enhance the faces of the dolls, adding details like hair, eyelashes, ear canals and nostrils, and even carving teeth between the opened lips. Her finished products were fine art compared to the bland blurry original. Her nativity sets were so fine detailed they looked like carved ivory when she was done with them. Her china dolls had real porcelain roses she hand made from tiny pieces of clay. I loved sitting next to her and watching her fingers expertly form balls of nothing into delicate rose buds.
My mother did lots of ceramic in my grandmother’s shop, as did I. But my mother also invested in oil paint and dabbled in painting, sometimes passing down her left over canvas and paint to me. She never went beyond painting for herself, her own enjoyment and home décor, but I think she could have if she had wanted to. She was a practical woman, using her creativity to enhance her home and our lives, nothing more.
It shouldn’t have come to a surprise when I decided I wanted to pursue art, but by all accounts it was a shock to my father. He always wanted me to be self-sufficient and he was pretty sure art was not the means to that goal. However, I couldn’t shake my love and devotion to art. Even today, though I get little financial success, I get a deep heart-filled, personal success from each and every piece I create. Perhaps it is for the next generation to achieve a more financial success in art that I have, but even if that is not in the stars, I will always love this heritage of art I have received.