Design and Creativity Influences
All of us are influenced by others in our lives in some way or another. Those we admire we’d love to emulate, and sometimes we’re fortunate enough to have a mentor to show us the ropes and how to climb them.
My Mom the Artist
My mom majored in art in college and was an exceptionally talented artist. While her drawings were stunning, everything she did and touched became a work of art, too. The flowers she’d pick from the yard were arranged on the table or mantle as if ready for National Geographic’s next cover. She designed and lovingly crafted clothing that could have easily been found in the most elite designer shops. In her younger days she was a fashion model and modeled some of her own designs, too.
In the photo to the right is one of the designs that she created and wore as Freshman Homecoming Queen at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in 1939.
My Mom the Mentor
So many days throughout her life she’d pass along some little tip to me about the beauty in the colors from nature, about symmetry, about typefaces, about balance, and so much more. I was like a little sponge, always soaking up whatever she shared with me. She also taught me her exceptional sewing skills and how to design clothing, how to knit, crochet, do needlepoint, and so much more.
My mom also took me to art museums and special exhibits in San Francisco and elsewhere, showing me through her eyes the world of art in such a magical way. I learned to appreciate everything and to gain an understanding of creative expression far beyond whether or not I happened to like a particular artist or not. That carried over to music as well with the wide range of music she exposed me to, whether live concerts or recordings.
Most of all, though, my mom’s infectious enthusiasm for creativity rubbed off on me and has always been a huge influence on my life. It is no surprise that I’m a musician and a web designer/developer now and so passionate about it all.
Reflections Before She Died
A few months before my mom died, and when she was going blind, she spent over two hours sitting next to me at my computer with her magnifying glass looking at my latest designs and totally fascinated by the wondrous technology of using a paintbrush in Photoshop. She would have loved to have learned more if her health wasn’t failing so much by then.
The day before she went into the hospital where she died a few days later at age 79, she noticed a gigantic tree trunk next to my brother’s apartment and commented about the amazing colors in the bark, the wondrousness of nature in all its astonishing colors, and told me to keep them in mind for my color schemes, that they’ll be the best of all.
I still see that scene vividly in my mind when she could barely walk because of difficulty breathing and the pain from rheumatoid arthritis, and yet she was vibrant with enthusiasm talking about the wonderful colors in the tree bark next to her. Amazing.
Three Years Ago Today
As time goes on I become even more aware of her gigantic influence on my passion for creative pursuits and how much she taught me.
My mom died 3 years ago today. Who she was and all that she gave me truly lives within me, and I see that she’s really not so far away after all.