I have a few rather vague memories of my grandmother. I remember her crown of silver curls, her long slender fingers holding her paintbrush. I remember her art studio in her basement and the patient way she tried to show me how to paint watercolors.
"No, Cady," she would patiently say...."It's alright if the color spreads outside the lines....it's what watercolors are supposed to do!" It frustrated me. I liked to color inside the lines....logic demanded it. I was a teen when she tried to teach me and I rejected the whole process. Watercolors were boring! Acrylics were more exciting and much easier to control.
That was the only time she tried to teach me and, boy, do I regret it! She had so much to instruct me in and I didn't listen!
"Watercolors take time, Cady....and patience."
I've only learned recently that the patience of watercolors is the secret magic of the art form. To slowly watch your painting unfold wash by wash is priceless. Maybe that is why older people enjoy watercolors so much....because they have the time to invest in slowly watching a painting come to fruition.
I spent so many years trying to be somebody else....trying to be outgoing, popular, successful. I tried to be dramatic with my acrylics, I tried acting and singing in a group, dressing in styles that I was uncomfortable in....you name it! Deep down inside, I think I just needed to be me.....and I've found out that I'm very much like my grandmother. Years after her death, as I hold some of her well worn brushes or thumb through her favorite art books, I feel her presence. My mom says that I look like my grandmother, I have her sweet singing voice....I'm a bit reserved, am a homebody and I dislike being the center of attention or crowds....I'm sensitive and I cry easily.
When I pick up my brush, I feel centered....like I've finally, after all these years, become satisfied with who I've become. As I paint, her brushes sit in a jar on my desk and I am thankful that her artistic influence somehow lives on. Even though I didn't grow up knowing her....I love that I've somehow inherited a piece of her.
Her name was Jean Toups.
Here are some of her paintings. I hope you enjoy them!
Oh, and I still paint inside the lines....but I'm learning to let go. :)