When my mother Martha Lou Hohimer showed me her prairie elementary school about thirty years ago, we were driving in the car together through Greenwood County, KS where she grew up and where I spent my summers. She pointed to the left as a small stone building appeared on the horizon. She said there were only four or five kids in class. She remembered the day when their teacher opened up a book of famous paintings and turned to an image of the Mona Lisa. She couldn’t believe what she was seeing! She didn’t even know that people did things like that. She decided right then and there that she wanted to learn to draw. When she asked her father if she could take lessons, he said absolutely not. In response, she quietly vowed that if she had a child one day, and that child wanted to paint, she would make certain that child had all the art lessons and art supplies he or she wanted.
Growing up I had an insatiable desire to draw and paint. My mother was right there with me, providing me with whatever lessons and supplies I wanted or needed. I must have painted thousands and thousands of drawings and paintings! I know she saved every penny in a little jar on the counter in our kitchen so that I could have what I needed to keep drawing … to keep painting. As a career artist today, I am deeply grateful to my mother for her support and encouragement, and I recognize that my mother’s elementary school teacher’s influence is still alive and well, operating full force in me to this day.
Greenwood County, KS