Sunday, March 28, 2010

The People Who Have Touched My Life...Touched My Art - Meet My Aunt Rita!

While we are not an overtly artistic family... there is some "creative gene" lurking somewhere in the family tree. I always remember that my Aunt loved to paint & never really knew how she got started or where it came from. Well, we're in for a real treat! As I got her to tell her story, which most was unknown to me - just so neat!
I remember for my 18th birthday (at least I think it was then) she asked me what I wanted. I told her I wanted her to paint me a ballerina. I remember her being a little anxious about it, because still life painting was something relatively new to her. It turned out so beautiful! I still have the painting and the House In The Woods that is pictured in My Life In Vignettes - The Foyer. I will treasure them forever.
This was something we shared in common, our love of art. We would ocassionally over the years go & do artistic outings together like seeing Phantom Of The Opera and the Monet Exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago. Our funniest outing was going to the Museum of Contemporary Art and seeing some shocking exhibits of eh em...unmentionable body parts. She just kept giggling she was so shocked. We were in quite disbelief of what we saw...boy did it make a memory.
So now I'll share with you Aunt Rita's story...
I'm not sure when the creativity began exactly but I think it must have always been there. My earliest memory of being creative was when I was about seven years old and had a bald-headed doll. I guess the ones with hair cost more money and my parents couldn't afford one. So, I got hold of a ball of string (see where I'm going with this?) cut the string into different lengths, wet the string, squeezed the string into ringlets and attached the pieces to my doll's head with tape. Voila, a doll with hair!
Because of the creativity, I got in trouble a few times. I remember as a very young girl we lived on the first floor of a two-flat building in Chicago. The landlord lived upstairs and didn't take care of the yard very well. The yard had bushes that were dead and really looked ugly. I decided to do something about that. I got hold of some of my mom's crepe paper, cut out several strips, fashioned them into flowers and attached them to the bushes. I thought it looked great, but the landlord was not too happy. She complained to my mother and I was punished.
In grammar school I was always drawing in class and trying to conceal it from the nuns by holding my book in an upright position. Of course, I was caught, nuns have x-ray vision. They finally decided that if they couldn't beat me, they might as well join me. So I became the class artist and it was my job to decorate for every holiday, including painting winter scenes on the classroom window and for all the other holidays as well. I loved it! In my senior year of high school I was the art editor of the school newspaper.
After I was married and my children were grown, I finally decided it was time to take art classes. I joined the Fedelle Art School in NW Chicago, IL and following that, I took private oil painting lessons with Jean Bisek from Elmwood Park, IL. Landscapes are my specialty, but I do enjoy doing still life and florals. When I moved to Arizona, I was presented with an opportunity to share my gift and for the past seven years I've been giving watercolor classes to early-stage Alzheimer's patients. The program is trademarked as "Memories in the Making" and is sponsored by the Alzheimer's Association. My students enjoy the process and the end result. Sometimes I feel I get more than I give.
Hopefully soon, I'll be able to encourage my dad to share his story. See? I get that creativity honestly. Until next time...
**Notes: Estelle Fedelle is the Author of How To Begin Painting for Fun
YouTube Video Clip of an Example of Memories In The Making

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