Thursday, January 19, 2006

When I wrote the acknowledgements page for my book (Beautiful Quilts-As-You-Go) I thanked my Mum for teaching me the value of finishing what I start. I was being a bit rueful the other day, remembering that, as I recently found so many projects that I haven't finished, and may never finish. Maybe I should have learned the lesson better.Then it occured to me that the lesson my Dad taught me was to always start something, in hope. He had a serious heart problem from the time he was a small boy, and when WWII came he was rejected on medical grounds. But he finally managed to enlist in the Royal Australin AirForce, and was sent to the Goodenough Islands in the Pacific; here he contracted malaria and jaundice, and his heart problem worsened. He became seriously ill in the mid '60s, and was told to take up a sedentary hobby, instead of the woodworking and uphostery that he loved. So a set of paints and various canvases appeared, and after tea we would all sit around the kitchen table and watch him paint.

It must have been nerve-wracking to put brush to canvas with so many eyes upon him, but he loved the attention; we thought he was a magician to conjure up landscapes upon the blank white page. He had three or four in various stages of completion, the same way he always had three or four woodwork projects on the go.

He died in 1967 when Meredith and I were 10. He was 47. His unfinished projects are still in the shed, still in various cupboards and drawers in my mother's house. But if he'd never started, if he'd laboured on one thing until it was done, I might never have known how much he loved to create. He might have died without ever having made a stoke of colour on the canvas, and we would never have known that he was an artist.

Finishing is to be commended, but starting is the real act of creation.

5 comments:

mereth 3:53 AM  

Oh dear, now you've made me cry...

Carolyn 6:25 AM  

What beautiful thoughts and memories you have of your father. You are blessed...

Bonnie 1:16 PM  

Thanks for sharing the story of your father and his love of painting..even his UFOs are cherished, so that makes me feel a bit differently about my own! Oh, I'll still try to finish them, but I won't sweat the ones that don't get done. :c)

It is so great to see your blog!
Bonnie

JudyL 4:44 PM  

Keryn: Just caem across your blog. Great post. So glad you have great memories of your dad.

Judy L.

YankeeQuilter 2:07 PM  

I love your story...
So often when people see my quilts they ask if I learned it from my Mother and I have to say no that my Dad supported my quilting habit early on. Is mother was a quilter and when he saw me reading a book on it for a class project he immediately went out and bought fabric for me!
Glad I found your blog...
Siobhan

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