When I grow up I’ll be a painter too.

Near the end of World War II, when I was three years old, I moved to a very large house on Fifth Avenue…in the small town of Union City, PA. There I lived with my grandparents, my parents, my sister Paula, my aunt and uncle, the Goldfinches, and my cousin Bobby. Grandfather was in a wheel chair and had become senile and argumentative and my grandmother could no longer handle him and the house. My memories of everyone, including my grandfather, are wonderful.

My grandmother, Clara Baker, had retired from teaching and seemed happy to have children around again. Based on a drawing I made that first year, she decided I was destined to be a painter. She supplied me with art materials and read the biographies of artists at bed-time. Since then, I have never wanted to be anything other than an artist.

My parents, Mavis and Paul Hulings were indulgent, if not entirely enthusiastic, and took me to almost all the museums I requested. They gave me an unlimited budget to buy the post card sized reproductions of the paintings I loved best. Over time, my bedroom walls were papered with art.

These paintings recall the painters who allowed me to believe I could be a painter too. The large group portrait, The Lost Lautrec, includes, from left to right, Picasso, Soutine, Monet, Laurencin, Gauguin, my cat Rascal, me in my Brownie uniform, Vuillard and Lautrec.

Janet Hulings Bleicken 2017

 

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