Saturday, March 8, 2014


In February 2009 I did a post about some of the early 20th century sheep lithograph prints we have collected (click here).  In that post I promised I would show you some of my step-great-grandmother's art.  Better late than never -- it's only been five years.
A back story of the artist -- My great-grandfather, after being widowed with two young boys, came to Colorado from Maine in the 1880s to start a new life.  After his boys were raised, he sent for 'Auntie Evelyn' to come west to be his new wife in 1897.  She was considered to be a spinster at the age of 29 when she was dispatched to Colorado!  We have the train ticket that he sent her for her journey.  To us, she was always called 'Auntie Evelyn' -- I guess because she never really mothered anyone.  
They were married for 41 years until his death in 1938; she lived until 1950 in the West, far from her family and in a place that must have felt so foreign to her.  She was an untrained artist, but with considerable talent.  Her drawings and paintings are done on whatever materials available - cardboard, etc.  She never had much money for her art supplies, and probably was considered just an amateur 'Sunday' painter.
In the 1960s someone who knew a little about art told me that all she did was copy other works - could be true as they are very similar to the lithograph prints of the early 1900s.  I'm sure this was her way of learning more about art -- a common practice for the unschooled.  This particular drawing is done in charcoal/chalk and it needs to be restored. Several years ago when I tried to take it apart to better photograph it; a lot of the charcoal remained on the glass.  I stopped right there and reassembled it!
For several generations, my family was in the sheep ranching business; and this picture hung over the mantle in my grand-parent's home for years.  My grandmother gave it to me in 1961.  Later on, I inherited two more drawings and three of Auntie Evelyn's oil paintings plus some of her furniture.  No one but me seemed to want them.
The family just considered her an "eccentric artist".  She ended her own life by hanging herself in the barn under very dramatic circumstances -- such a contradiction to her serene and comforting art work.

I promise I'll show you some more of her artwork before another five years fly by.

Joining in:
Sunday View for Inspired Sunday
Better With Age for Give Me The Goods Monday
The Dedicated House for Make It Pretty Monday
Confessions of a Plate Addict for The Scoop Tuesday
A Stroll Thru Life for Inspire Me Tuesday
Knick of Time Interiors for Knick of Time Vintage Tuesday
Ivy and Elephants for What's It Wednesday
Have a Daily Cup for Share Your Cup Thursday
The Vintage Farmhouse for Creative Things Thursday
The Charm of Home for Home Sweet Home Friday
Common Ground for Be Inspired Friday
Nancherrow for Fridays Unfolded
Romantic Home for Show and Tell Friday


NanaDiana said...

Oh- How sad to have ended her life like that. I am glad you have something of hers that lives on. She looks like she had a lot of raw talent. Who knows what she could have done with training. Poor dear...alone in the world at the end of it all. xo Diana

Shelia said...

Hi Sally! OH, what a story about Auntie! Poor thing to end her life like that. She certainly did have a God given talent. I love the sheep painting or charcoal. What stories you have. Hope you're doing well and aren't still too cold. But I forgot, you like the winter! :)
Be a sweetie,

Marilyn said...

I can not imagine being very far away from my family. Auntie must have been a very brave woman.

Today the clouds were fluffy and white. Now that was a signal to me that spring will be here soon. Sorry, I know you like winter, but I've just been COLD for a while and my electric bill shows it! (Electric base boards).♥♫

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such talent and tragedy. These are definitely treasures. Hugs, Marty

Sue said...

such a talent....but she didn't look like a happy soul...I love how you still have the train ticket...I would have expected nothing sad that she died in such an awful manor...but her beautiful art lives on!

Marigene said...

She may have been copying other artists work, but she sure had talent. I really like art with sheep as the subject...there is something comforting about it.

sweet violets said...

How very sad to have ended her life like that....she probably felt that she had never been accepted for who she really was. She was very talented!!! It is common for young artists to learn the craft by copying from the Masters until they have developed their own style. It is encouraged!! Her artwork fell into the right hands, as I know you will respect them and give them the care they need!!

The Speckled Hen Cottage said...

Her sheep painting is wonderful...I would be proud to have such a piece! Her tragic departing is so sad~~~

Alison Agnew said...

What a neat story of the painting. And such a sad ending. Thank you for sharing at Fridays Unfolded!


Deborah Montgomery said...

I love those pastoral paintings of sheep. She was quite talented. I think the paintings are beautiful. I have two from my great-great aunt, they're treasures!

Debra Oliver said...

I had to go back to your post of 5 years ago, I hadn't started blogging yet. What an interesting story of your auntie and her art and life. I collect sheep prints and have a few of the ones that you do. The collie with the little lamb has always been one of my favorites, it tugs at my heart. thanks so much for sharing this at Be Inspired, I really enjoyed both your posts!

Jann Olson said...

Sally, whether she copied or not, there is no denying that she had amazing talent. I think her works are priceless! So sad that she ended her life that way. So hard to understand what someone must be going through to be able to do that. Happy that you adore her things! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

Laura Turner said...

Such wonderful talent and such a sad story. It's difficult to not be appreciated for who you are and to live the life of a "starving" artist. I am so glad you are keeping the beauty of her skill alive!

Susan Clayton said...

What lovely pictures. It is a shame her talent came to be appreciated so late. What a sad end to such a talented lady. Thank you for sharing her story a pictures.

Teresa CottageLodge said...

Poor little lady, I'm sure she went to a happier place. Thanks for sharing all your awesome sheep art. I am crazy for sheep stuff, especially antique prints/pictures, and am lucky enough to have a pretty goodly amount of them. Take care, Teresa at