A number of folks have asked me why I paint so many flowers. And while there are a dozens of good reasons, frankly, it all comes down to this lithograph, “Lilacs” by Vincent Farrell.
For many years now, it is the first thing I see each morning and the last thing I see at night. My parents bought it back in the 80s and it is one of the few items to survive from days gone by. We had a couple of his pieces, and one time, I must have been about 10, my dad took me to his studio/gallery on the Pacific Coast Highway in Laguna Beach to pick up Lilacs from a framing repair.
I think my dad could tell I was impressed to meet “a real artist” because when Mr. Farrell came up front he proceeded to spend ten minutes bragging about me, telling him “she is also an artist” and how I had just received a whopping $20 from the local chamber of commerce’s Christmas Carol illustration contest. Then, not only did Mr. Farrell play along, but he went so far as to earnestly ask me about my medium of choice (magic markers) and my favorite artist (Mr. Joseph- the guy who painted words in the butcher’s window)…and then let us go back in the shop where there was an enormous landscape on an easel and asked me if I had any pointers for him. You guys, I’m not even kidding, I suggested adding stickers. STICKERS. When we got back in the car my dad said if I ever grew up to be “a real artist” I would remember that day for years to come and keep it as a lesson in humility, which, to be honest, wasn’t a word I understood at that age, but I feel very humbled by it now. And every time I look at Lilacs.
Sadly, both Mr. Farrell and my father passed away some years ago, but it is remembering the moments like this that remind me that not only did I hit the daughter lotto with my own dad, I was lucky enough to reap the benefits of countless other amazing men who took the time to invest in my growth, even when it was of no benefit to them. Friends, teachers, uncles, neighbors…even a passing stranger who let me tell him to add stickers. This weekend is much bigger than a day to celebrate dads.
Happy Father’s Day to all.