Along with other holiday traditions, in my home every season, we switch up the artwork. As someone who is privileged to have many pieces of my father’s artwork to hang on my walls, I have created “collections” for each season. Many of these paintings have become like old friends, which I would miss if I didn’t have a chance to see them at least once a year. I get great enjoyment in curating these collections throughout the year.
Each of the paintings to a certain degree tells a story. And put together can tell different narratives. Although there may be some ‘regulars’, juxtaposed with other paintings which haven’t made an appearance in a while, together can tell a totally different story.
My dad’s artwork lends itself to seasonal themes. For autumn, palettes of deep umber, cadmium orange, soft maroon, golden yellows, and teal reflect the view out my window of the changing leaves. In one of my favorites, The Experiment, there’s even a pumpkin central to the composition of triangles. It’s autumn when we take out the self-portrait my dad painted while in Woodstock, showing him in a plaid shirt with scarf, portending the cooler autumn weather ahead.
With the Christmas season coming soon, we move to more of a theme of mother and child -- or children. The studies my dad did of mothers and children in strollers in the playground portrayed in cool blues and grays of the cold day. Contrasting with these cool tones of winter, are the paintings we hang just for Christmas, such as me as a child dressed in fancy red dresses, as well as one of my aunts, who was an actress, adorned in a fancy red jacket with a silver and green tiara, certainly fitting the theme of winter holidays.
In January, when the cold of winter really sets in, we move to the purples, blues, and more abstract work. A new year comes with new unknowns, so hanging paintings that are less literal and not portraiture, but a matter of interpretation, seems to reflect life itself. We look at Silhouettes I and II, along with Atomic Discussion. On other walls, we see women bundled up for the cold of winter, like the portrait of my grandmother, Rae that shows an unusual pairing of a fuscia background juxtaposed against the deep apricot and black of my grandmother’s heavy winter coat. Then there’s the soft black & white charcoal drawing of me against the cool blue background.
In the spring, we move to plants. From the azaleas popping, pinks and purples,to the more rainy days of April with mom dressed for the weather and a large more abstract canvas of the renowned weatherman, Al Roker out in a fierce storm. Come late spring we gaze upon Lee and Her Garden, with our pussycat staring straight into the frame.
With the warm days of summer, come beach scenes like the watercolors my father painted years ago on a summer vacation in Cape May, NJ. We see more beige tones with greens, yellows, and bright colors popping in some of the frames. Paintings of nudes bring a calmness, while the playful bright colors of the nude girl at the beach are just fun. Still lifes of the many beautiful bouquets that came from flowers in my mother’s garden are another staple of the summer exhibit.
I don’t think my father consciously chose his pallet based upon the seasons. The colors seem to have come to him in a more organic way, depicting a connection with the seasons that influenced how he saw the people, places, and things which made his world.