Kim Bruce was the topic of my last three posts. During the process of having someone ask her questions about her art and business, she was reminded of her father’s influence on her life and her art. Her post touched me and I now want to write about my father’s influence on my love of nature and how it relates to my love of painting the natural world.
My father was 100% Portuguese. His mother Mary, along with his grandmother Reza, came to the United States in 1901 from the Azore Islands. They did not stop on the east coast but went directly to family in San Francisco. A husband was imported from Lisbon for Mary when the time was appropriate and the couple moved to Sonoma County, California.
My father was the first of 10 children. He had little money but he had a strong work ethic and a love of a certain piece of land in Bennett Valley, about 20 miles from where he grew up. There he built our house and there I grew up. Here is what the valley looks like even now.
I was surrounded by the splendor of the natural environment and I loved gazing at Bennett Peak, which looked so majestic to me as a child. I could always see it when I wandered from home.
In other words, I grew up in one of the loveliest areas of the country because my father loved visiting San Francisco, but he wanted to live in Bennett Valley.
Sonoma County looks a like rural France, which may be one reason that I love to paint the countryside of southern France. Here is a painting that I did in Sorèze, France that reminds me of home.
It is interesting to think about how an individual’s personal history affects their identity, behaviors, and actions. My history in Bennett Valley contributed to help make me an artist.
How about you?