Amélie and My Mother

Was it a coincidence that the French movie, Amélie, was playing today on Encore TV? Amélie was the last film my mother and I saw together at a little art house cinema before she passed away this day, six years ago. We loved that movie—our laughter brought tears. Today, once again, Amélie brought tears to my eyes and memories of art shared.

My mother started me on the journey to a life of art. We painted together throughout life—side by side at the kitchen table, or on her dining room table. To this day, I prefer to paint on a table instead of a painting easel.

Our journey to art began with private lessons for both of us when I was ten, copying Currier & Ives prints. Mrs. George Boyer taught both children and adults the fine points of oil painting in her large Victorian house in our small Kentucky town.

Her studio, a large sunroom, looked out onto green pastures dotted with cattle. In the center was a huge country dinning table. We sat around it with our canvas boards flat upon it, and a lazy Susan in the center stocked with communal art supplies. The atmosphere was like a Sunday dinner with the family—“Pass the yellow ochre, please. May I have some of that yummy beet red?”

Sitting elbow to elbow, Mom and I learned as much from each other as we did from Mrs. Boyer and Currier & Ives.

The Future by Stephen Hall, Acrylic on canvas, 48" x 60"
The Future by Stephen Hall, acrylic and metallic gold powder on canvas, 48″ x 60″