What I Learned from Grandpa’s Art

Creativity has always been part of my genetic makeup, and I’ve tried various creative endeavors over the years: A face painting business; selling hand-painted clothing; playing the bodhran (Celtic drum) at seisiuns in Boston; and now, I’m exploring acrylic and oil painting.

I’m just now trying to teach myself how to paint on canvas, and caught myself complaining earlier about the lack of money to spend on materials and “proper” tools.  Then I remembered a painting my Grandpa, Bob Bidwell, created back in the 1930s.

It is a painting of Mt. Ranier that he brought alive with minimal money and probably very few tools. Oil paints on a used feed sack, and a frame that he built, carved and hand-painted.

That frame surrounds the great mountain to this day.

Grandpa couldn’t afford to buy canvas – it was the Depression era and he was a sign-painter by trade.  Creative people are often monetarily challenged, but that didn’t stop him from painting.  He painted and painted and painted, right into his 9th and final decade on this Earth.  He is my inspiration.

I proudly hang Grandpa Bob Bidwell’s original art on my walls, and today he reminded me that there is nothing keeping me from doing what I love, other than feeling defeated and negative.

If you love art, love to create, but feel you lack money, space or time to leave your artistic legacy, don’t wait until you have “enough” to do it.  For most of us today there is NEVER  enough.  And when you make do with what you have, you just might encourage one of your children or grandchildren to do the same thing.  That is a legacy to be proud of.

There is no reason to ignore your God-given gifts.  So don’t!

2 thoughts on “What I Learned from Grandpa’s Art

  1. You have spoken lovingly and truly about Grandpa. I’m happy that you know so much about his art and how he got started. Your appreciation for his talents would be a real happy moment for him. As you know, he never felt he was as talented as we all could
    see. He left his family a part of him through these paintings. Lucky us!

    • I remember the things he told me, you shared with me, and I discovered through the letters we exchanged before he passed. I’ll always be grateful that I have this painting and his banjo to keep those memories alive.

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