Today would be my grandmother's 110th birthday. She was an absolute angel who made everyone—even complete strangers—feel important and loved. She was endlessly cheerful (famous for singing instead of scolding if we broke a dish), a master storyteller, baked the dreamiest goodies (and confided to me once that she put a little sugar in everything she cooked), an art teacher when she was younger. (I love that we have this in common!)..and the joy of my childhood.
Nearly 30 years ago, when I was still in college, I painted this for my grandpa for his birthday. It's called "The Prettiest Flower in the Garden." I have always loved florals, but what I enjoy most about this painting is the way I hid my grandmother in among them—you don't see her at first glance. This was the first time I had attempted anything this large, attempted a figure, or stretched a full-sheet watercolor. For some miraculous reason (call it beginner's luck?) it turned out exactly the way I hoped.
When I was a missionary, I had a compañera latina who always made the most delicious food—simple, but delicious. I asked her one day how she managed to make everything taste so good. Her answer surprised me, and has stayed with me all these years. "Ya sabes, hermanita. Es que siempre cocino con amor." (You already know, sweet sister. It's because I always cook with love.) Of course.
Admittedly, this painting has some flaws—although it probably represents the best of my early work. What I know for sure was that I painted it with all my heart. I painted it with love, as an ode to my wonderful Grandma Winters. And I think the love is what shows.
I am an artist and art instructor working in water media. Just knowing I can watch colors run together makes it worth getting out of bed every morning! Helping students capture the same excitement is equally rewarding.