Ida Mae and a maternal linage of artists

Watching Ida Mae paint in the sunroom.
Watching Ida Mae paint in the sunroom.

I study Ida Mae, my maternal great-grandmother, as she paints flowers in her sunroom. The watercolors fascinate as they swirl and run across the paper in an unpredictable way. I said, “What do you think of my art?”. She said, “It’s not classically beautiful but it’s interesting and that is art.”

A hand painted watercolor flower birthday card.

She tells me her eyesight is not that great anymore so she paints larger and larger flowers. They are very different from her meticulous and delicate earlier work in oil on porcelain dinnerware and jewelry. She gave me one of my favorite flowers as a Happy 9th Birthday card.

Celebrating 50 years of marriage. (4 generations around 1991)

Everyone feels special with a flower painting from Ida Mae. The artwork is cherished in the family and passed down from generation to generation. Tody there are over 20 great-great-grandchildren (not pictured in the group photo above). Someday her art will hang on their walls.


I inherited some of Ida Mae’s art supplies this Christmas from my Grandmother (Ida Mae’s daughter) who has kept them these 20 odd years or so. Opening the box to the smell of paint and roses is a trip to the past.

Today I painted an ‘interesting’ rose in honor of my material lineage of artists who I have had the honor of collaborating with creatively(Mom, Grandma, and Great-Grandma). As I was integrating her materials into mine, there was an extra magical moment when I found one container of rainbow glitter with the paint and it matched what I had in my existing supplies.

Thank you for giving me the tools to make dreams come true.