Wednesday, September 30, 2009

In Memory

My Dad, Halcyon "Rocky" Rockwell, passed away on August 23 after a 2 1/2 month struggle with infection, heart issues and Parkinson's disease. My Mom, Beatrice, who passed away 12 years ago, and my Dad are where my artistic base come from.
My Mom loved to paint and draw and had studied art in high school, in the building where I later studied art in college. She use to pull out her dry or oil pastels about once a year when I was growing up, and work on a drawing. When she retired, she decided to take up her art more seriously and started taking classes. She took a painting class from the local community college (She was so cute at 70 years old, having me go shopping with her for her college clothes). She also took a few classes offered to seniors to learn traditional Japanese brush stroke painting. Her paintings are in my kitchen and family room. Mom taught me my initial drawing when I was not even in school yet because I wanted my dog to really look to an adult like a dog, and my people to not look like stick figures.
My Dad was a custom picture framer when I was young and loved to show me the art work of some of the local artists he was framing (the pictures in my home were almost all framed by him). I learned to really appreciate fine art at an early age because of his work. When he later became a tool maker, he was picked to create two steel picture frames for a modern artist whose work was going up at MoMA in NYC, without the shop owner knowing Dad was a custom picture framer, until after Dad started working with the artist (wish I knew who the artist was). He was always my champion for learning new things. Dad and Mom encouraged me to learn to color in the color by number picture the use to be in the Sunday New York Daily News and once I got good at it, he got me a child size artists easel (a real one not the plastic kiddie ones they have today), and paint by number oil paintings - I was about 8 years old. He then got me the pre-stretched canvas and acrylic paints when I was ready to try painting my own pictures - I was in 6th grade. When I was in college and needed to mat some pictures for a student art show, he taught me the art of matting (of which I have forgotten half of the tips he gave me) and he made me mat my own pictures. When I moved to jewelry, Mom had already passed away (she would have been right there learning it with me if she had been alive) but my Dad was fascinated with the process - especially the precious metal clay work - and was very proud of my work.
I miss my parents very much and I miss their encouragement. I was blessed to have parents who loved art and who taught me as much as they could about art and craft work. I hope I can make something of my art that will be a credit to them and all they gave to me.
Gale
Proud daughter of Beatrice (1924-1998)
and Halcyon Rockwell (1927-2009)