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An Artist’s Perspective: “Unraveling the Family Tree”

Do your know your family history?  Do you know where you came from & the route your family took to get here?  And do you know the stories & feelings behind their journey?

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That is the thinking behind my current painting, Unraveling the Family Tree, 30″ X 40″ X 1.5, Acrylic/MM on Canvas.

If you look deeply into the palm of your hand, you will see your parents and all generations of your ancestors.  All of them are alive in this moment. Each is present in your body. You are the continuation of each of these people.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Where we come from is so important, but unfortunately as in my case, we think we have forever to find out. I continued to shove it aside other than gathering bits and pieces in conversation with relatives at family gatherings.  You get so busy and have your young family to take care of.  I now wish I had paid more attention and asked more questions.

Of course, I know the basics.  My grandmother and grandfather on my mother’s side came from southern Italy when they were very young, both at different times.  My grandmother was promised to my grandfather in marriage and came to the US when she was 15 years old to marry him.  He was 22 years old and had come to the US at a younger age.  I can’t imagine how frightening that had to be for her and to marry someone she didn’t know!  And the worst part, not to have a voice in her future.

But what I want to know is how she felt about it.  As a woman myself, who stands up for and votes for women’s rights and equality, I feel so much empathy for my grandmother or any woman who had to live under that paternalistic society.

I wish I had been able to ask my grandmother questions then that are in the forefront of my thinking now.  With the women’s movement and women’s rights issues, I would have loved to question her on her feelings as a woman on how she felt about her life choices or lack of life choices.  What her secret interests were in life.  If she could do anything what would it be.  What were her feelings and stories about the trip from Italy to the US.  And would she feel able to share them or hold them tight to her breast for safekeeping?

Many of my extended family either never knew much more, have memory problems because of age or have passed away so it is going to be a much harder journey to find out more information now.  But it is mostly about feelings and stories that I am after in general and my grandmother in particular and her voice is no more, lost to me forever.  Anything I learn now would be only guessing and speculation.

It is not until you are older that you begin to wonder about how you fit into the picture of your family structure.  Who and where did I get my talent.  When you think of the history and stories that are lost, it is just so sad that future generations lose the connection with that voice.

I am curious, though, after painting this piece, how much of your family history do you know and do you really think or want to know?  Does it make you feel disconnected?  Did you ask the important questions?  Do you still have time to gather that information?  If so, keep a journal for the next generation because one of your relatives will be grateful to have the voice of the past revealed to them even if it just starts with your voice.  If nothing else, start recording your journey.  Don’t wake up to regrets.

Please share this with someone who will benefit from its contents.  It might start a conversation.  Follow my blog to get the stories behind the paintings.  Comments to this post are most welcome.  Let’s start a dialogue.

Visit my website to view more of my paintings.  And as always, thanks for all your support.

Stuck on that “MOTHER’S DAY” Gift Idea?

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Mother’s Day is a special day to remember a mother in your life.
Do they like FLOWERS?  Do they like GARDENING?
You can’t go wrong with flowers.  So how about flowers that last forever?
And how about unique, fantasy flowers that are inspired by my garden?

I guarantee that it is a one-of-a-kind flower and
will never be grown in anyone else’s garden!
But the best part is that your gift will be appreciated forever by the recipient.
And it can be matted and framed right on the site before it is sent out!
But you better hurry so that it can get there in time.

And, if you are a collector, you can buy the original painting.
Look to see if it is still for sale.  I would be honored for you to own
and collect my work.

Go to my Saatchi website portfolio and if the non-representational abstracts are the only ones on the page then in the Search for box in the right hand top corner, type in Joyce Wynes Flowers.

Please share this information with a friend who needs some suggestions.  And join my community by following my blog and signing up for my newsletter.
Thank you for your support and suggestions.  It means a lot to me.
Let me know if you have any questions for me below.

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Just wanted to wish all of you a . . .

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YOUTH…Can We Recapture It?

Isn’t that something most of us would like to recapture?  A time when everything seemed slower and enjoying the excitement of each new adventure.  A time of playing, learning, listening and most of all, free time.

Sure, there were also the other stuff common to most families but those things taught us how to cope with life and make decisions.  For me that is what I recapture in my non-representational abstract paintings.

I was fortunate (and give thanks to my mother every day) because my mother taught me how to sew and quilt at a young age.  It inspired a unconcious love of symbols, lines, patterns, shapes and textures that I recognized when I started painting my non-representational abstracts in 2010. The creativity, freedom and inspiration that I had been given at that tender age working with fabric opened up my world then but is now being captured on my canvases. Below is a sampling.

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Emotional Reactions 3         Emotional Reactions 4
These are part of an 8-painting series called “Emotional Reactions”

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Moving Spaces 1                      Moving Spaces 2
Another series that is still in progress.

Have I recaptured my youth?  Not all of it, but I believe I have recaptured some of the best parts of it.  Please look  on my website to view my newest work in the coming weeks.  Some are uploaded but some are still being photographed.  And some are still on the easel being completed. You will see a lot of new paintings in the abstract section and small abstract section.  You can also go to my site on Xanadu Gallery and Saatchi Online (can order prints on paper and canvas) to view my work. How have you recaptured some of your youth and used it in your world today?