Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Woman of Two Centuries

This past January 11th, my Great Aunt Helen Wallace passed away at the age of 93. She was an amazing woman and I will miss her terribly. She and her husband, Russ (who she has been without for more than 30 years), were very creative and nature loving people. They have a unique home that reflected their love of art that I spent many years visiting, especially for the family's annual New Year's Day party. She was a nuturing force in my understanding of the comics medium by allowing me to borrow her hardcover book of Pogo strips when I was younger. I have one memory that sticks out in my head relating to my art and Helen. I was a young boy, maybe 8 or 9, and during a certain point in my artistic development I loved to draw people in my family. I remember making a pencil drawing portrait of my Great Aunt and showing it to her at an outdoor picnic at my Grandma Jeanne's home in Plymouth. "Oh, Nathan...!" Helen was mortified. I apparently, even in those early years, had an attention to detail by focusing on her youthful wrinkles that I loved. By making them very deeply etched I had crafted a caricature of her that was apparently less than flattering in her eyes. She asked me sweetly not to draw a picture of her again. I laugh inside sometimes thinking of this incident and I like to think she may have grown into my only drawing of her. Although I never drew another picture of her, I will always remember how art can have lasting effects on people.