It’s all my mother’s fault. Maybe it was the Japanese mural she wallpapered our 50s living room with when I was young. Or the Danish modern furniture—a boomerang coffee table and turquoise, armless sofa. Could have been the album cover of the Louis Prima record I played on Sunday mornings before anyone got up, so I could sing along with “Yes! We Have no Bananas,” or it may even have been the ever-present Life magazine.
Maybe it was mom’s personal sense of style and color, and how she organized each area of our home, inside and out, as if it really mattered. The “titty pink” Buick Special or the avocado green Invicta she called Samantha didn’t hurt either.
Or maybe it was the seemingly endless supply of Playdoh, Rat-Fink cars, Revell monster models and paint-by-number kits I worked on.
She must have given me some money regularly because I had all the Archie, Jughead, and Betty & Veronica comics, and I’ll even admit to loving Casper the Friendly Ghost.
No, wait… it had to be the Jon Gnagy Art Kit she bought me. Or the time she took my drawing of our little, sleeping dog to dinner with us at the Italian restaurant that had those Chianti bottles dripping with candle wax? My sister and I loved to pick off the wax during dinner. The owner hung my drawing over his bar.
And I thought my artistic career started when my (early) grade school teacher sent us home with the assignment to paste different kinds of leaves onto paper, a task I was obviously born to do. Poor mom. All that support and encouragement, and all the credit went to my teacher because I LOVED gluing leaves onto paper. I discovered FLOW. Later I discovered mom was a frustrated artist. My career as an artist was all downhill from there.