Saturday, January 14, 2012

Artist in Residence

IMG_1410One summer when I was in elementary school, my dad enrolled me in a week-long drama class. I think it was to get me to come out of my shell, but I hated it. I was extremely shy, and having to perform in front of other people frightened me to no end! I sneaked off one day to the art class my friend was taking in the same building and stayed until the drama teacher found me and made me go back to drama class. Drawing and painting fascinated me. I wanted to be an artist like my mom (Leona Redles Pendleton). I tried my hand at painting and drawing, but I was no good at either one. Finger painting in kindergarten was my favorite art activity!

I also wanted to be handy with a needle like my mom. I don’t remember at what ages she taught me how to sew, embroider, needlepoint, and knit. It seems as if I’ve always known how. If I messed up, I would just take whatever it was to her to fix. I would get so grumpy at the sewing machine when I let myself get too tired and frustrated that one day she told me I should only sew for half an hour at a time! She wanted me to learn how to cross-stitch, but for some reason, it seemed too tedious for me, and I decided I didn’t have the patience for it. (She taught my two sisters and my daughter how to cross-stitch, though.) I never learned to crochet; it looked too difficult. She says it’s not hard—she taught herself how to do it.

IMG_1414I don’t know if I would have ever attempted any of these pursuits had I not been exposed to them by my mother when I was growing up. As I mentioned in a previous post, when I was a kid, it seemed that she was always on the decorating committee of the clubs she was a member of.

When I think back to my childhood, I picture her making or sewing something or drawing and painting or doing one craft or another. She’s very creative! She made a lot of my clothes when I was growing up. I wish I had her sense of color and design. (That talent skipped me and went straight to my daughter.) I have to work hard at it. I love how my mom has used family photographs, heirlooms, historic maps, memorabilia, etc. to decorate our family home. Of course, I had to copy that.

In my dad’s 1966 diary about our family trip to Washington, D.C., (included in his unpublished memoirs Growing Up South Georgian), he writes about the two camellia paintings above, “Today was Father’s Days for me. I received…two of Lonie’s newly framed camellia prints she painted. They are lovely and the best she has done.” My parents gave me these paintings a few years ago, and they hang on my wall now. She painted a portrait of my two brothers and me when we kids. I love her painting of yellow flowers in a vase. I tried to copy it, but alas, mine didn’t look like hers!

In addition to the two camellias above, here are just a few examples of my mom’s needlework.


Ballerina pillow

A cross-stitched ballerina for one of my sisters who took ballet for a number of years.


Ballerina pillow2

Ballet dancers cross-stitched for a pillow for one of my sisters.



An embroidered pillow for me.  (Have I mentioned that blue is my favorite color?)


Sometimes I feel the need to create—doing something besides writing, which is all I seem to do. I took up knitting again a few years ago. Boy, was I rusty. I practically had to teach it to myself again. I’ve also tried taking up cross-stitching again, and sometimes I wish I had a sewing machine. I think I prefer painting things to anything else—just slapping paint on something to transform it, not oil or watercolor painting, of course.

When I was talking to my mom the other day, I told her about this post that I was writing, and I mentioned the camellia watercolors. She said she didn’t think she remembered how to draw or paint. I bet it would come back to her!


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