I’m sure I’m not unique in having a number of vivid memories that go back to my infancy. One such memory is laying in my crib and studying the individual threads of my mother’s embroidered side panel of butterflies, birds and flowers. Not knowing how old I was at the time, I wonder if I even knew what the rich kaleidoscope of colours and objects represented in real life. Another memory was resting on a soft powder blue blanket in our living room at the time where a painting of my father’s hung on the wall. I recall vividly staring at that painting in awe. I guess my infant mind was searching to rationalize what it was. It wasn’t like my surroundings having three dimensions, yet it looked three-dimensional. It wasn’t a scene outside a window, yet it looked like one. I didn’t know what it was, but I did know it was very special. I believe that’s when it all began for me.
This is that painting.
My wife, Alex, and I are of Ukrainian descent. We’ve never been to Ukraine. Neither has our daughter Andrea. However our son Adrian, a journalist and filmmaker, had the opportunity to travel to Ukraine to do a documentary for the Canadian Government. During his trip, he visited the house my father was born and raised in, now occupied by my father’s sister-in-law.
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In my father’s former bedroom, Adrian was photographed with one of my father’s paintings hanging on the wall above the bed. Painted in his youth, it is very recognizable to his subsequent works.
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After emigrating, my father, as typical of most post-war immigrants, worked hard at anything to support his family. Notwithstanding, he always pursued his artwork, either for pure joy and satisfaction or for bringing in some extra income. I remember him taking me to an Italian bakery for what seemed to be endless evenings. I thoroughly enjoyed them though. He would be painting a wall-to-wall mural of a pastoral scene while I would be consuming copious amounts of authentic Italian pizza and sweets.
Over the years, my father continually nurtured my artistic talents. Although I believe we all have hidden talents waiting to surface, our daughter Andrea has inherited the artistic talent of her grandfather and father, while our son Adrian has inherited his mother’s talent for the written word. I pray that Alex and I will be as much an inspiration to them as my father was to me.
Below is a gallery of my father’s oil paintings.
Below is a gallery of my father’s pastels.
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My father passed away in 2007. We all miss him. When visiting my mother, I find myself surrounded by decades of her beautiful embroidery and my father’s artwork and am reminded of my distant memories.