Tag: oil paintings

More Empty Boxes and Family History

In the continuing effort to declutter and organize, I emptied two boxes yesterday, throwing away some things, settings aside others to donate to the thrift store, and saving a few things to give to David. Today I reboxed four boxes today, condensing them down into three boxes that are labeled and organized and now they are stored in the closet.

These last boxes today were family records, wedding albums, genealogy items that need to be saved to future generations. Amongst them were the Gibson-Darrow genealogy books that my Great-Aunt Irene (Irene M. Gibson) researched and wrote. She had five installments and gave copies to any family member that requested them (and probably some that didn’t request them!). When she died, I inherited all the remaining copies. Today I went through them, trying to collate all the installments into actual sets and discovered that, while there are approximately 15 copies of most of the installment, there is only ONE copy of the second installment.

I am glad I took the time to try to collate them, as I could have very easily given away the last remaining copy of #2 and not realized it. I think I will scan all the pages of all five installments so that I have backup copies, just in case. And then I think it is time to begin typing up the copies and uploading them into a site like Lulu.com to create a permanent book, and so extended family members can get their own copy.

Of course, ideally I should pick up recording the family history where Great-Aunt Irene left off, which is why she gave the copies to me in the first place. I believe she thought I was THE person in my generation to pick up the genealogy torch, so to speak. It would be quite a massive undertaking, as she followed so many extended branches of the family and it has been close to three decades since she wrote the last installment. That would be a lot of catching up! And I do not have the correspondence and records that she had; she was a prolific letter writer and lived to be 96 years old! But, with the Internet and sites like Ancestry.com, I should be able to find enough information to at least make a bare bones record, if not in all the detail that she provided. Just what I need, another project!

Speaking of projects, going through these boxes also reminded me that I had intended to scan ALL of my Grammy’s (Mabel Gibson, my dad’s mother) art work and sketches and oil that I have stashed away. I did some of that a couple of years ago, but when I went to Alabama last May, I shipped to myself more boxes that were in storage and in some of those were more of her art work, including this:

This was obviously just a rough draft, as on the back of this canvas there is an oil painting of a large bottle and many written notes about the picture. Birds were her specialty, though, and even if it was a rough draft, I think it is pretty lovely and plan to get it framed.

And since I am on the topic of family, I thought I’d share this picture of my Aunt Violet (my Mom’s oldest sister), whom I visited last week.

She is looking pretty good for seventy-eight, don’t you think?

Thinking of My Grammy

Today would have been my Grammy’s 105th birthday! I have a lot of fond memories of my dad’s mom, including her molasses cookies (her cookie jar was always full!) and playing the card game Kings in the Corners with her. I still have her cookie jar, but I don’t remember how to play Kings in the Corner.

Mabel Austin Gibson was an artist and left behind many beautiful paintings. This is one of my favorites:

She loved to paint birch trees and autumn colors.

Here she is at my wedding, along with my dad.

Happy Birthday, Grammy!

Thursday’s Treasures – My Grandmother’s Paintings

These are two of my most valued possessions, oils painted by Mabel Austin Gibson:

Country Lane oil by Mabel Austin Gibson

Deer in Woods oil by Mabel Austin Gibson

My paternal grandmother was a talented artist. I have a few books and sketches from her youth which show early artistic talent. But it wasn’t until after her children were all grown that she took a class in oils and began oil painting. She would never sell them; they were like children to her. Occasionally she would gift one of her treasures to a family member or close friend. When she died, we made sure that every member of my generation had at least one of her paintings.

My dad has two very large paintings, birches and fall colors (two of her favorite themes) and another painting of the Little Church, near where she lived and where I spent my first 10 years. Every year she would send out personally sketched Christmas cards to family and friends. I wish I had realized as a teen how precious her cards would be to me, because I would have saved them all. I do have many saved, though. Here are just a few (some of which I can see I need to return to my brother, as they are addressed to him!):

rabbit sketch by Mabel Austin Gibson

Rabbit Easter card by Mabel Austin Gibson

cat halloween card by Mabel Austin Gibson

Cat Halloween card by Mabel Austin Gibson

Robin Christmas card by Mabel Austin Gibson

Robin Christmas card by Mabel Austin Gibson

Pony Christmas card by Mabel Austin Gibson

Hall New York church program sketch by Mabel Austin Gibson

Hall New York church program sketch by Mabel Austin Gibson

This is the Union Congregational United Church of Christ church in Hall New York where my parents were married. Mabel sketched the church, which graced their program cover for many years (and possibly still does).

And here is a picture of my Grammy and me at my wedding in July, 1979:

Mabel and Karen at Karen's wedding

**Thursday’s Treasures highlights the small things that make my life a good life. It may be an item, it might be a book, it could be a song; whatever it is, it makes me smile and is therefore worth treasuring.