Childhood memories are ethereal, and while firmly and solidly entrenched in the mind of the person who lived them, they are difficult to communicate, visually, to others.
So it was an intriguing challenge for Steve when a family group approached him to create a painting based upon collective memories that ranged from 50 years ago and beyond. Central to the memories was a place — a house and ranch that no longer existed — and the warm, engaging, and unique grandparents (or parents, depending upon the family member) around whom that Arizona home revolved.
There was little to go upon but a handful of black and white photographs, and vivid verbal descriptions of the time, the place, and the people.
And so the painting, Arizona Memories, was born — its nascence established long before canvas was stretched or paint set upon the palette, as Steve sketched out houses, horses, and a barn, moving them this way and that as those who saw so vividly in their mind what they wanted to see on canvas, elucidated their remembrances, “The driveway was dusty, remember? Wasn’t the house a bit more pinkish in tones? What kinds of flowers did Grandma grow? And remember Grandpa’s hat?”
Bit by bit the reference solidified, as the people, the horses, the house, and the land emerged from memory into visual reality. And after many, many hours of sketching, drawing, interviewing, checking, re-checking, confirming, changing, adjusting, and asking questions, it was finally time to set the canvas on the easel, choose the pigments, and pick up the brush.
Stroke by stroke the painting emerged. Four people from the past — some still here, but older; others gone, but never forgotten — materialized into the present, and memories that danced within the mind, sometimes near, other times elusive, now find life in a painting.
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