My mother was admitted to New York’s Pratt Institute around 1940. She had great artistic talent and was lucky to get into such a prestigious institution after graduating from high school. She went to Pratt for two years, dropped out, got married, had three daughters and never did a thing professionally with her talent. Some of her early oil paintings hung in my father’s dental office. I remember one of a cowboy leaning against a bar. This painting captivated me because it looked like the cowboy was the only person left in the word. I realize now that mom’s work reminds me of Edward Hopper’s, my favorite artist.
Mom took a couple of art classes later in her life, and I remember her being pleased with her work, but she never really got into it. If I had been older at the time, I probably would have encouraged her to continue and try to sell her art. But I was a teenager and teenagers think only about themselves; they’re not worried about whether their mothers are utilizing their talents and making the most of their lives.
I believe women must use their God-given talents. If a woman chooses to have babies and stay home, there’s no reason she can’t use her non-mom talents at the same time. She doesn’t have to make money, either. Let’s say she’s a brilliant knitter. She can create one-of-a-kind sweaters for her friends and family. If she’s a wonderful saleswoman, she can help fundraise for a local charity.
My sister has the cowboy painting stored in her basement. I’d like to have it to remind me of a talented woman–who also happened to be my mother.