Olivia's painting of Booga playing with a "lightning bug" is my favorite.
My mother - Patti Ann Lashbrook-Jackson - was a good artist. She sold a few things, but mostly gave away her artwork. She loved giving away her work to others as gifts to say "Thank you for being a part of my life."
Her favorite medium was painting, but as she got older she branched out to sewing.
There is no way of knowing how many handmade items of hers are out there in this community because she was always doing something.
She sold a few things, but mostly gave away everything.
After her death I found some of her work at the Brazil Public Library. They were kind enough to give it back to me. The statue of an painted indian princess has a place of honor in my house.
When I started down the artistic road of my life as a child, family members praised my work.
"You're just like your mother."
However, at the time, life was too busy for artistic endeavors and i didn't know about my mother's talents until I was 12- or 13-years old. My Grandma Iva and Aunt Glenna told me all about her work and showed me a couple of her pieces. They were beautiful, and it made me proud to be like my mom.
In August 1990 my daughter was born. I wanted to encourage whatever talent she had, and did by buying anything she could use as a creative outlet. She was scribbling "masterpieces" at a year old and mastered staying in the lines of coloring books before she was 2.
Now I have to admit my pride was swelling. She was just like me, and my mom.
She was about 5-years old when I failed her.
"Look mommy," she said with a big smile handing me a paper with a drawing on it. "What you think? You like my picture?"
I was always honest with her. If a picture needed a correction I told her in an uplifting way. You know kids, the eyes are where the smile should be of the tree isn't actually sitting on the ground in drawings. I wasn't mean, just helping her in a good way to be correct.
That day... I wasn't.
The picture was of a monster character from the children's cartoon television show "Digimon." Honestly, it was drawn on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. There were no erase lines anywhere that I could see. It was perfect... Too perfect.
"Sweetie, you can't trace something and then say it is 'your' picture."
That little girl looked at me with daggers in her eyes.
"I didn't trace it," she said and stomped off.
While hanging it on the refrigerator with all the other drawings she had done I could hear her angrily stomping her way back to the kitchen.
"Here," she said, shoving the only copy of a Digimon story book we owned at me. There on the cover was the monster she had drawn, only it was a fraction of the size of the one hanging on my refrigerator. She had duplicated the picture in a different size to perfection. I was amazed, and very apologetic.
"I'm so sorry I didn't believe in you," I said while sitting down on the floor next to her holding the book. "Can you forgive me?"
"I love you mommy," she said, hugging me. "You like my picture now?"
I said yes and meant it.
Through the years she's heard the same words of my youth, "You're just like your mother."
Only, trust me, she's better than I ever was.
To this day, my daughter Olivia's talent still amazes me. As hard as it is to believe, she gets better each day. She has a studio in our house and works daily to create pieces of art in various mediums to support herself and Booga while she's in art school to be a graphic designer.
"You like it mom?" She asks me all the time upon completion of a new piece. "What do you think?"
I'm still honest with her, but always amazed at what she shows me.
Anything she thinks up or sees, Olivia can duplicate it in whatever medium she chooses to use.
A couple of days ago, Booga visited here at the Times office while Olivia ran a few errands in town.
"Nanny, can I have a piece of paper?"
With marker in hand, Booga started drawing pictures for my co-workers. They're crude right now, but if you look close you can see a dinosaur, a robot, a bird and a ufo. The details - like eyes, ears, hair/feathers, claws, landing lights and bolts are there in his works of art. He's got talent.
When he handed me my picture, I couldn't help but say, "You're just like your mother."
He's just like his mother, myself and my mom.
I guess we have a family tradition after all.
If you would like to see my daughter Olivia Herron's work, log onto her Facebook page Off The Beaten Path Creations.