24x30 Chicago, Illinois
Merry Christmas. I wanted to write to thank you both for always working to make Christmas so special for us. One of my earliest memories is of being at Aunt Mariley’’s on Christmas Eve. I was probably four years old or so and we were told we could pick one present, try to guess what it was, and open it. I must have been so small because the piles of presents were neverending. I remember painstakingly searching through them, picking a box, and not being able to figure out what it was. When both my sister and I opened them, they were puzzles.
I remember Uncle Scott giving me a sand dollar with a painting of a rainbow at a beach on it, and a ballerina snow globe one year for Christmas. Those two things are two of the most beautiful things I have ever owned. I have always appreciated your love of Christmas. I was telling Kevin today “My Gram had like 300 of the moving Santas!.”
My favorite Christmas memory though is of 2009. After we went to Aunt Tam’s we thought we’d have a casual drive to northern Michigan from Chicago at 11 pm on Christmas Eve night. I remember so vividly, how irritated with my Dad I was because he was driving so slow. He drove SO SLOW with the same rant and 15 second stop at every stop sign (there are like 20) through Lemont, always reminding us of the stories of the shit he sees every day with terrible drivers on the road. I know you can still hear it now too.
By the time we got onto the road, it was nearly midnight. It started to snow. I gave my Dad a red bull, his first ever in life, to stay awake. He was so mad at me! He was clenching his jaw and said he could feel all the blood pumping through his body, but most of all that I needed to drive. By this time we were in Wisconsin & there was an ice/ snow blizzard. I thought for sure we were all goners and that the truck would flip on the bridge over Green Bay. My Dad leaned over and scolded me for not having the truck in 4 wheel drive.
Normally the drive would be six hours, this time it took 11. We were in Iron Mountain, this tiny town with brick houses covered in snow right at sunrise. I’ll never forget seeing people waking up to Christmas morning in the window after window. Kids running into the room exhausted parents in tow. Must have been two dozen houses I could see into the windows as we drove past. The thought of those moments brings me to tears to this day. When we got to my Sister’s she made us dinner and used Grandma Earlene's bone china. We played apples to apples and laughed until we cried.
2020 has been quite a year. I wanted to depict in this painting the magic of that blizzard and share something with you that probably only I remember. There is nothing I wouldn’t give to still be irritated by my father's driving, but I guess not really. I love Christmas music now. I love Christmas. Because I love magic. You gave me that. My Mom gave me that. My Dad gave me that. And now here I am trying to reflect it back to you in the best way I know-how. Glitter.
I wanted to make a blizzard of magic that makes you feel like you’re wrapped in a snow globe of heart and tradition. The line on the canvas is the same shape as the route on a map from Chicago to Michigan.