This is Lena.
Lena was my maternal grandmother and the women who, most likely, put the first paintbrush in my hands to keep me entertained during the long summer days as a child.
She lived down a bumpy dirt road in southern Arkansas. Growing up as the eldest child of sharecroppers in Central Texas, meant she spent the majority of her childhood as a caretaker. When I knew her she was a homemaker, the first to get up to cook bacon and eggs and toast and instant coffee and orange juice.
Lena was the original artist in my life though she would have never called herself that. She was the one who introduced me to the beauty of nature with her abundant gardens. She also started my obsession with color and pattern through the seemingly endless vintage fabric collection that took up an entire wall of her sewing room.
Her name was Lena but to me she was always Nana.
Nana died 17 days before my son Sam was born. I like to imagine that their souls recognized and greeted one another in transit.
That time, the loss of my grandmother and the birth of my son, gave me a sense of perspective that has been life changing. Though my rational brain knew that life was not eternal their almost simultaneous entry and exit put that in clear focus. If I wanted to make art I had to shake off the excuses and do it now.
The current "Story Behind the Work" series describes the people, places, and experiences that have influenced the pieces in my first art show - Local Color.
Be sure to check out paigemeredith.com/localcolor for more stories behind the art as well as information on how to buy an original piece of art.