This is my second daily posting in which I will reflect on what inspires me in art.
Today, I am reflecting upon inspirations within my own family, namely my aunt, Margaret Van der Pant, a Canadian resident and fine artist who loved living in Vancouver, and who sadly passed away only too recently. She was in her late seventies, but had a timelessness of spirit which defied age. Apparently, I am a lot like Margie, which, if true, is hugely flattering.
She had a tremendous spirit and an incredible talent, which helped her to battle with nearly two decades of chronic illness. She was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis in the late eighties/early nineties, I can’t be sure when, for her strength of character meant that she would never give in to such an illness. More recently, she also suffered a stroke and became wheelchair-bound. Despite all of this, she continued painting even into her final few months.
She has left an impressive legacy as she was extremely prolific. She painted amazing flower arrangements, landscapes and also some very poignant portraits. Sadly, she has never exhibited as a solo artist, despite her immense talent.
Colour and design were her forte. She had an expansive knowledge of art which she passed on many students whom she taught in her home city of Vancouver, and a lot of people have very fond memories of her.
Besides her involvement in art, she was also a devoted mother to her only daughter Linda, who is a few years older than myself, and who has become a very talented landscape gardener, as well as artist, in her own right. She also very resolutely kept in touch with her family back in the U.K., which includes myself. And I am very lucky to still be in possession of the letters she sent me.
One of her communications I just discovered recently, just by chance. She sent it to me when I first started studying Art & Design on a degree course in Swansea, Wales. I’d posted her some black and white pictures of bridges that I took in London in 1995 while studying photography. (One of these pictures I used to illustrate the story with which I launched this blog, ‘The Story of Tommy and Suzy’). She offered me these words of encouragement:
‘bridges’ symbolize transition, or movement, or crossing from one point to another (over water in this case) which is a metaphor for the unconscious state, in other words a phase or stage in your life, which is an interesting thought.”
An interesting thought indeed. Bridges are metaphorical on so many levels. Are there bridges between life and death, between here and the after-life? Who knows? Certainly, that’s something to think about. But I digress.
My post is to be a homage to my inspirational aunt. Today, I have created a piece of art, in her memory, which reflects her style, but is also unique to me. I have posted the end result of this experiment below.
I hope you enjoy studying it along with my aunt’s painting. I am very privileged to own this painting of my aunt’s; my wonderful cousin, Linda, generously let me choose a selection of her paintings to remember her by when I visited her in Vancouver just last month. It was my first visit to Vancouver in just over 20 years, and I travelled over there to join Linda in celebrating my aunt’s life.
Thank you for reading. Comments are welcome.