My grandmother’s sister, our Aunt Helen, was a woman who spent much of her time in creative pursuits. She lived in a small house in Salinas, CA where she gardened, sewed, and made all sorts of things. She made cross stitched tapestries, shadowboxes and collections of shells, stones and earth from all over the globe. Every year beginning in October, she made numerous elegant Christmas ornaments that she distributed among the family each December.
Among my favorite of Aunt Helen’s creations were her scrapbooks. She made these with books my mother bought in Chinatown; plain bound books with lightweight paper that she filled with images meticulously cut from magazines. She would make covers for them out of wallpaper and fabric. These scrapbooks were many, often themed, and full of delightful illustrations. As children, we would be mesmerized by the images of animals, flowers, and paintings of every day human interactions. I reference these book in my artist’s statement because, all of these decades later, I find that they often influence the content of my paintings.