A Multi-generational Art Show & the story of a collaborative painting…

Last month I was lucky enough to have my artwork grace the walls of Goodbean Coffee in Jacksonville, OR.  (That’s right, I’m talking about an art show that’s in the past.)  This was no ordinary art show, although probably most of the people who visited Goodbean Coffee during the month of May had no idea about the story behind the artwork, unless they took the time to read the bios on the wall.  What made this show so special was that it was a multi-generational show.  Not only was MY artwork there, but so was my mother’s artwork, and my daughter’s artwork.  Even this might not seem so out of the ordinary until you know that my mother passed away in 2002.  With this art show, I sort of brought my mother’s artwork back to life, so to speak.  And, including my daughter’s artwork was a way to sort of pass on the torch, and also show how art is a very inspiring force in our family.

In case you didn’t get a chance to see the show in May, here are some photos of it:


The Entire Show – stretched across the brick wall of the coffee shop


My Mother’s Charcoal Drawings (Susan P. Tracy)


My Artwork (Crystal R. Pyren)


My Daughter’s Artwork (Brittany S. Lund)


That last painting in the photo above was actually a collaborative work between all three of us.  Here it is up close:


Here’s the story behind this painting:

This painting was started by my mother in 2002, before she passed away in May of that year.  She began a watercolor painting of her mother’s (my grandmother’s) succulents that were growing in her front yard.  She had drawn the entire picture in pencil and had begun painting it in.  But, she was unable to finish it.  When she passed away I “inherited” the painting project and she wanted me to finish it for her.  Here’s how she left it:


My Mother’s Succulent Painting – as she left it

I had (for years) imagined that I would painstakingly try to finish the painting by matching what she had done.  After all – there were some areas that seemed completely finished.  But, I kept putting this project off – worried that I wouldn’t be able to paint as well as her, or that I wouldn’t be able to match her style.

Over the past few years I have become much more confident with my own painting skills.  I have had several art shows, and have sold my artwork on greeting cards, prints & earrings.  I began to feel confident that I could finish my mother’s painting.  However, I also began noticing how my daughter’s artistic skills have been progressing.  I began thinking that perhaps Brittany should help me finish my mother’s painting.  And, that’s what ended up happening.

I had different visions of how we would proceed.  One idea was that I would leave a 1/4″ gap/space around all of my mother’s finished areas, and fill in my areas with my painting style, leaving space around the outside for Brittany to add her art style.  But that seems like it would be difficult since my mother sort of painted in many places all over the painting.

Brittany suggested that she and I sort of “skip around” all over the painting, like my mother had.  That’s what we ended up doing – sort of a mishmash of all of our styles – all together.  Here are some photos of it as it progressed:

This whole experience of working on something my mother had started, finally finishing it, and painting alongside my daughter was simply magical.  I had no idea how healing it would be, how much closure it would give me, and how much fun it would be to paint with Brittany!  I love how the painting turned out!  For me, this painting was what our multi-generational show was all about.  I think my mother would have been excited to have her artwork on exhibit again, but I think this one painting that we all worked on together would have made her so proud and happy.  I told Brittany how much I enjoyed working with her on this, and we both agreed that we should collaborate together on art more often!  I hope we do!

~ prints & cards of this painting are available upon request ~

Have an Artful Day!


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