As I was searching through my collection looking for just the right image for some art I've been working on, I started thinking of the women in my own family and how each one of them contributed to the woman I am today. I knew intimately the four generations of women who preceded me on my mother's side. We lived within blocks of my grandparents and great-grandmother. My mother's sisters lived not much farther away. And so these women touched my life on nearly a daily basis.
Even my great-great-grandmother was a part of my life, though she had passed many years before I was born. My family was a family of storytellers (most of them true and un-embellished, though I suspect not all) who instilled in me the essence of those who had came before: their hopes and dreams, struggles and accomplishments, values and beliefs. And so those women became a part of who I am, what I dream about, struggle toward, value and believe. Their images are my image - my mother's complexion and love of art, my grandmother's quick wit and deep brunette hair, great-grandmother's sense of fun, love of big hats and gardens, and great-great's quiet introspection, strength and love of needlework.
As I head to my studio these women will be there with me - looking at other women peering out of sepia colored photos, choosing paint and embellishments, telling a new story of my own.
Four generations before me.
Great-great grandmother - Martha Moore
Great-grandmother Nellie Brewer
Grandmother - Laverne Dew
My mother - Helen Jayne as a young girl.
Here are some photos, that I recently fell in love with, of women I've never known: