A year ago this month, I was just starting to consider doing art as more than just a hobby. I had always loved painting and drawing and I had little projects I would work on during summer breaks and snow days off from school. But I never really felt secure enough in what I did to paint for anyone besides my mom. Enter my sister-in-law, Amanda. Last winter, she commissioned (her word, not mine) me to paint a piece for her mom.
Amanda’s mom had grown up visiting her grandma’s home in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. She had fond memories of the homestead, the hills, and the winding country roads of her childhood. But her grandmother had since passed away and the house now stands empty. It’s become dilapidated, a shell of what it once was.
Here’s the snapshot my brother sent me to base the painting off of.
Even though the house is run down and not in its former glory, the beauty of art is that you can restore it without doing an actual renovation. I wanted to do that for Amanda’s mom.
As I painted, I thought of the stories that are a part of that picture. What makes something significant is not the place itself, but the memories that are part of the place. I pictured her mom as a girl running in and out of the front door, lounging on the porch, exploring in the yard. I imagined the love she had for her grandma. I saw the house as it once looked.
Many of the things we preserve are just memories. But sometimes we have ways of preserving those memories in physical form.
I discovered that there is great joy in taking something simple and maybe even a little ugly and returning it back to the beauty that it once had. I love that this piece is more than just a picture, it holds the remembrances of former joys.
When I heard that Amanda’s mom cried when she opened it, it makes it that much more special. I’m grateful to be a little part of this story.
Like what you read? Hop on over to the sidebar and subscribe to receive an email every time a new post comes out.