Portrait of an artist as a mother

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.

FOF actress Jane Seymour also is an accomplished 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.


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One Response to “Portrait of an artist as a mother”

  1. Toby Wollin says:

    Your story of your mom reminds me of a lady who was a friend of my parents. She was married to a dentist who was very dominating – brilliant, resentful that he ended up in dentistry instead of medicine the way he wanted, cutting toward his wife and his children and very difficult to be around. I always knew this lady as very nice and social but that was all — she was always in the background. My mom later in life said that this lady had shown her her portfolio from the fashion design school that she had attended before the war in Vienna, where she had grown up. When Hitler came to power, she and her family escaped and came to the United States but they were now poor and she needed to get a job quickly to help support them. Soon after that, she was introduced to this brilliant young dentist and she married him. My mom said that her fashion designs were brilliant – beautiful drawings and would have been something that lots of young women would have wanted at the time. But this lady never got the chance. This is why I told my children — whatever it is that you love DO THAT FIRST. Don’t think you have to get married or look for security by taking the ‘right job’. This is very difficult advice to give a young person in today’s economy but this will pass — if they can find something to just support themselves while they do the hard work to do what they love, it will pay off later when the economy gets better and they have the skills to have people appreciate what they do and love.


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