Memories of Mom
People sometimes ask me where I get my artistic talent. Well, nobody else was really drawing around the house but Mom was always doing things in a very creative things. She was very methodical in her processes of baking and the decorations on them were a work of art. Her handwriting is probably the fanciest I have ever seen someone use on a regular basis.
I don’t know why, but I always liked to draw and it was my favorite thing to do. Mom made sure there was always drawing paper for me to work on. She would always buy a sketchbook for me. When each one was finished, she would buy another. I took them with me where ever I went. If she was with me, she would proudly say , “Andy, why don’t you show them your sketchbook?” She would have positive comments about whatever drawing I had just finished.
I was always interested in cartoons and funny pictures. I can remember once she came home from a trip to Mansfield and she said, “Andy, you have to see the posters they have on the walls of Pudgies Pizza.” Soon I made the trip with her. I think it was a college student who used the back of pizza boxes and drew on them to make posters. Each one was a caricature of the manager of the pizza shop. In each one he was reimagined as a different character. The one I remember is him redrawn as Spock from Star Trek with pointy ears and uniform. “Those are called caricatures,” she told me. “It still looks like the person, but each part is exaggerated to make them look funny.”
I can remember we had been at church one night. We stopped at a 7-11 to get a loaf of bread to take home. Mom sent me in with a dollar while she waited in the car. I bought the bread and on the way out the door, I saw a magazine that caught my eye. It was Cracked magazine. I quickly looked through it. It was packed with cartoons and comics. The cover was filled with caricatures of the characters from my favorite show Welcome Back Kotter. I went back to the car and excitedly told her about it. “Mom! There is a magazine in there that is fully of funny pictures – caricatures! -- like the posters in Pudgies!” She didn’t even bat an eye, but she asked me how much it was and if there was enough change from the bread so that I could buy it. The magazine was 50 cents and there wasn’t quite enough change. She gave me the extra 15 cents, or whatever I needed so that I could buy it. I became a regular buyer of this magazine and also Mad. I am sure that these were a big influence on my interest in and ability with cartooning. I learned most of what I by copying the images from the artists who worked for these magazines and they had a big influence on my style.
I can remember bringing home a piece of poster board to work on a submission for a poster contest. I got the design all sketched out and Mom said, “No, you can’t do it that way.” She had me flip the poster board over and start over. She showed me how to use a ruler to measure a one inch border all around. “All of the design should stay within that border,” she told me. Next she showed me how to measure from the top down to make guidelines for the lettering lightly in pencil. After I made the letters in pencil I outlined them in pencil and she told me I should erase the guidelines. She was right, I won the contest. I still wonder how she knew how to do those things.
There were a lot of things that she knew about art and she would tell me about them. I can remember her showing me the art of Andy Warhol and talking about them. “He is just swishing paint over someone else’s photos, but aren’t the colors and shapes just right for the personality of each one?”
Mom was a stay-at-home mom. It was a full time job for her. She did a lot for me. There is a Bible verse that says, “Train up a child in the way they should go.” Some people say that should be translated “in the way they want to go”. In other words, you look at the directions they are predisposed to go and support them. I am glad my parents did not try to make me into a farmer or some other thing I was not suited for. They looked for the signs in me of what my giftings were and they made sure I had whatever I needed to pursue it. From art supplies to musical instruments or lessons or whatever I might need. These are the memories I have of Mom.