Creating a Family History in 2018
One of the most popular books for most non-professionals is a family history. Putting together a simple book that can be shared with your family members can be fun but it is also a lot of work.
Involving your kids, if you have any, can turn this into a family activity. Children and teens alike might like drawing family pets or houses where they’ve lived. Some will warm to the idea of self-portraits. Of course, the trusty cell phone can help them take pictures to include.
At some point, you can help them create a family tree. This can be helpful, but be aware that difficult issues can arise. Think of how each family member will react to the information included: divorces, deceased infants, suicides, adoptions, and other events may not be known by everyone who will see this information.
I will post this each month as a reminder to be cautious about information you share. Better safe than sorry!
Consider interviewing relatives, too; their stories are often treasures. Ask them for copies of old photographs of people and places. Don’t limit this to family. One of the things that makes these histories so interesting is pictures of friends, places of worship, schools, and favorite vacation spots.
I will be posting a suggestion each month for an activity that will help you focus your efforts. I think most of these can be done in less than four hours a month. You can spend more time if your interest is piqued.
My first step is to start a journal of family traditions. Include photos, recipes, music, and memories of holiday gatherings: Thanksgiving, religious gatherings, trips to favorite places, and annual community events.
Commitment to Your Work
I wish I had known sooner in my career how important it is to organize and protect preliminary work.
Saving my best work comes naturally, too naturally in truth. I don’t have room for all those frames and paintings. Photography and scans help, but even those take money and time I don’t always have.
I have been very remiss in saving my sketches, ideas, and ‘not what I intended’ pieces. These can be inspirations for future work. I recently came across a series of abstracts I had created of dancers; these were just explorations of movement in the bright colors I loved most. I am currently working on sketches of dancers that are similar in nature and hopefully will complete a series of large acrylics by the end of the year.
“A great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke”
(Vincent van Gogh)
St. Valentine’s Day