Paint Schoodic

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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Here's to you, Dad

Portrait of Ann Douglas, by John P. Douglas, pastel on paper, c. 1969
Last week I wrote, “My father loved Maine, painting, and sailing wooden boats. Several times this week when I signed my paintings I thought of how amazed and happy he would have been to see his daughter getting paid to stand on a dock in Maine, painting wooden boats. Here’s to you, Dad. Thanks for teaching me to paint and draw and sail.”

When a reader responded to the above by asking me to share some of my father’s work, I hesitated.

I have only one piece by my father. This is a posthumous portrait of my sister, who died at age 14. These were very dark days in my family, because just a few years later, my parents also lost a son to a drunk driver. If I had a choice of his work to share, it would not be the piece that reminds me of such sad times.

My sister was a very larky girl. My father caught that, even in his deep grief. Although done from memory, it’s a good likeness. Decades later, I can still see the spark of her personality, which photographs never seemed to capture.

My father was born in 1924. By the time he graduated from high school, he could draw, he could letter, and he could print black-and-white photos as well as most BFA holders today. He intended to go to art school, but that plan was interrupted by WWII.

Can't imagine why signing my name while painting in Camden (bottom) would put me in mind of my father (top)
I doubt my father taught us to paint and draw because he wanted us to go into the arts—he just saw art as a basic function of a well-rounded personality. And, I’m sure, he also wanted to keep us busy.

Join me in October, 2013 at Lakewatch Manor—which is selling out fast—or let me know if you’re interested in painting with me in 2014. Click here for more information on my Maine workshops!


Jesh St Germain said...

Even though reminding you of a dark time, it's also nice to have something tangible from your dad as well as your sister.

Carol Douglas said...

I think you're right about that. Thanks, Jesh.