What Have I Been Doing

Helen

Helen was born in 1939  in Schlesien, Germany. She was 14 years old when her family had escaped Germany and ended up in Watertown,Wisconsin. Her story I found fascinating. It is hard to imagine the life and death struggles her parents made in order to bring their family to a country where they didn’t even speak the language.

Everyone has a story; a beginning and a end. Not all of us crossed the great Atlantic to begin a new life, but we all have crossed distances to become who we are today.

As a child we had little choice but to follow our parents. Whether we wanted to move to a new city or start at a new school it really wasn’t up to us. We were children; we didn’t ask why.

When we became adults we are intoxicated by the freedom of our new found adulthood. We soon learn that each choice we made and distance we traveled didn’t always take us where we had expected. We are shaped by these experiences or lack of these experiences.

Some people are afraid to open the door to the possibilities of the unknown, paralyzed by a fear they can’t explain or understand. My mother often told me that she didn’t want me to be afraid of life like she was. She pushed me to be fearless. I think in the end she wished she hadn’t pushed quite so hard. 😜

Like Helen I’m still on an adventure. Helen has often told me that getting old isn’t for sissies. So I will grab hold of this next chapter of my life and squeeze out as much love and fun as I can. I don’t need to know what will happen next. Sometimes not knowing is half the fun.

Helen of Schlesien
I gave Helen a gift of her younger self. She’s still cute.

Done!!!

I grew up partly on a farm. I didn’t see the kind of cows I just painted but to a little kid the cows in the barn were enormous. My parents didn’t own the farm. The family farm was owned by my dad’s older brothers. His family owned two farms; at one point dad worked for them too.

Dad was a hired man. Life as the hired man included a salary, housing and a certain percentage of beef. It was a simple but difficult life. Dad worked hard. It wasn’t the work that did him in but the chemicals he handled. Dad had to leave the farm; his health would no longer let him do what he loved.

Years later while on family road trips my dad would always point out how well the crops looked to be doing. He would comment on how big a particular farmers herd was or how successful a farmer was based on the number of silos.

I always say there is no such thing as a lazy farmer. If you see a lazy farmer he or she won’t be a farmer for long.

“Texas Steers Don’t Play”. 18”x28” acrylic on canvas

Texas Steer Legs

My daughter moved to Texas over 10 years ago. I hate that she lives so far away but that’s another story for another time. I think she is a fabulous photographer a hobby that I wish she had time to do more often but I digress.

She took a photo of a group of steers standing in a field across the street from her subdivision. They look intimidating with their intense stare. They look like a scary gang!

So yes mom had to paint this four legged gang of beef. Well the challenge turned out being in legs. There are more legs then heads in the reference photo. To ensure each steer gets four legs and the four legs lined up with one head requires the use of my magnifying glass. It also requires that others assist me with which leg is with which steer. It helped.

So let me show you the reference photo and my progress with the painting. I still have much to do. It’s been a journey. 🤪