Sunday, May 16, 2010

Destined to Fail

I was looking at a portrait the other day that my grandmother, Helen Russell Cogger, painted. It is a painting of a young, dark-haired girl playing a cello. The portrait captures the smooth wooden grain of the instrument, the crispness of the girl’s white blouse and the seriousness with which the girl was playing her music. Helen was a talented artist and, besides amusing us grandchildren with her doodles of roses and poodles and clever drawings in the margins of short letters to us, she also used to paint portraits on the side. As an artist and single parent in New York City in the 40s, she made her living with her skill – in a studio with a stable of other commercial artists such as herself. She used to draw the little cherubic toddlers modeling frilly smocks in the Montgomery Ward catalogs before photography came along and made her job obsolete.

It occurred to me that my life as an artist – a writer – is mirroring my grandmother’s life as an artist.

No comments:

Post a Comment