I remember as a kindergartener being assigned to draw my family. A simple, typical assignment for kids that age.
At the parent-teachers conference my teacher told my mom she thought I had “excellent artistic abilities” because of my “attention to details”. I’m forty-something and I still remember the wording.
There may have been something about not paying attention or being easily distracted but I wasn’t listening because there were Jello cups.
In my drawing my dad wore transparent shoes.
Perhaps that was the style?
However, more importantly, from that moment on she believed in me. She probably believed in me before but this is my memory.
It helps that her mother, my grandmother, Stella was also artistic so she knew – for better or worse – what to expect. Stella drew, painted and hand tinted old photographs. Based on Stella’s photographs, she also had a good eye for composition and story telling.
My mom was always telling her friends, family and co-workers about her “artistic” daughter. It was often embarrassing. That didn’t stop her though. For example, at my graduation
she proudly displayed my art. She came to every art show and opening she was invited. She came to every one of them proud of me. When I co-owned a gallery and was thinking about buying a building I asked her if she would borrow me the down payment and she said yes. She knew. She believed in me.
That was my mom, she was my first cheerleader.
Then there is the rest of my family. They love me but don’t always understand the Vision. They don’t see that when I’m not creating and painting my body, spirit and whole being aches. I physically hurt. I become like a waterballon stretched and stretched until I finally burst.
However, because they love me they still support me even if they think I’m a bit impractical.
My dear dad has come to many of my juried outdoor shows and helped out. He even came with to Broadripple Arts Fair in Indianapolis last year (I’ll be at Broadripple outside Indianapolis this year May 19-20, 2012). On this eleven hour trip he bit his nails while I towed my trailer through the heart of Chicago…but he still came!
My sister, nieces, nephew and his wife have all helped out at some time. I have two good friends that occasionally come and help set up shows.
When I wanted my first show my good friend and her husband (follow the link to see some stunning and unique images of Ireland) gave up studio space to give me my first art show when all the galleries said NO.
I have a partner now that believes in me. He doesn’t dismiss me as simply a silly woman with a painting hobby. He doesn’t divide people into Team Chrissy or Team Him. He doesn’t mock my Vision. He doesn’t gaslight me. He doesn’t make me choose.
My consort wants me whole and complete and he sees painting keeps me whole. As a creative person, he understands what it is to have a Vision. More importantly he understands the consequences of ignoring a Vision.
All of these people have become my cheerleaders too.
But my mom was my first and most powerful cheerleader.
Honestly with all the events and happenings in my life in the past year, I could have easily thrown in the towel. But it isn’t what my mother, my friend and my first cheerleader would have wanted. She knew. She believed in me. I won’t surrender my Vision again to a man or society or dogma. I can’t. I won’t. It’s not who I am.
Almost a year after her death from cancer I still hear her ghost encouraging me, bragging on me and showing me off.
The truth is, when St. Peter welcomed my mom into Heaven, she hung one of my paintings on the Pearly Gates.
Happy Mother’s Day Mom.
Chrissy Mount-Kapp is a professional self-taught painter specializing in creating oil and canvas paintings around Americana and vintage themes. Using the traditional methods of the Masters, Mount-Kapp creates original oil paintings, contracts for private commissions, paints custom murals and sells limited-edition fine art prints.
She currently lives in the St. Croix River Valley area with her two wonderful boys, two needy cats and her mother’s ghost.
Some additional images of my first cheerleader.