The Day Brightener

Because everyone has the right to be truly free and happy

Grandma Moses

“It is never too late to become what you might have been” George Eliot

Today is the birthday of not only of a much loved artist, but a truly amazing woman.  Her name is Grandma Moses, and she is an inspiration, and shining example of how it is never too late to do what you love.

She was born Anna Mary Roberston in 1860 in Greenwich New York, and lived a hard life.  She married when she was 27 and bore 10 children, sadly five of which died in infancy.  In addition to caring for the children and running the house, she also worked on the farm with her husband.  She lost her husband when she was 67, but continued to work the farm with her eldest son into her late 70’s, when arthritis made the work unbearable.

The arthritis also made her beloved embroidery difficult, and so Grandma Moses turned to painting in 1936 when she was 76.  She used whatever she had around, including masonite boards and house paint, and did it to help her reminisce and show others the way things used to be.  She gave the paintings away as gifts to her visitors, and sold others in a local drug store.  Two years later a New York engineer and art collector, Louis J. Caldor, who was driving through her home town saw some of her paintings, priced from $3 to $5, depending on size. He bought them all, drove to the artist’s home at Eagle Bridge and bought ten others she had there.

The next year, 1939, Grandma Moses was represented in an exhibition of “contemporary unknown painters” at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She did not remain unknown for long. Soon her exhibitions were breaking attendance records all over the world, and her works were being captured on stamps, Christmas cards, tiles and fabrics. She was celebrated with awards, honorary doctorates, and regularly invited to functions by the President.  On her 100th birthday was recognised by NY Governor who proclaimed the day “Grandma Moses Day” in her honour.  In 2006 her painting Sugaring Off sold for $1.2 million.  All this from a painter that was completely self taught!

What people love about her paintings is their simplicity, both of subject and style.  They take us back to a time when we lived close to nature, and enjoyed simple pleasures.  The bring people a sense of hope and comfort.

“There emanates from her paintings a light-hearted optimism; the world she shows us is beautiful and it is good. You feel at home in all these pictures.”

Grandma Moses painted just for the love of painting and the joy of creation, but her love brought brightness to many, and still does today.  She is a true inspiration and a reminder that it is never too late to do what you love, and to make your life exactly what you want it to be.  So, in tribute to Grandma Moses, start painting, exercising, writing, cartooning, meditating, horse-riding, dancing or whatever your passion may be.  Find a way to do it, and enjoy the wonderful things life has to offer.

I look back on my life like a good day’s work, it was done and I feel satisfied with it. I was happy and contented, I knew nothing better and made the best out of what life offered. And life is what we make it, always has been, always will be.”

A Beautiful World – Grandma Moses

For more inspirational artworks go to: The Day Brightener Gallery

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7 comments on “Grandma Moses

  1. Cassandra Gaisford
    September 8, 2011

    What a wonderful story…and such beautiful creativity. Can’t help but wonder if the message can both be: “It is never too late to become what you might have been” George Eliot and
    “It is never too late to become what you might have been – but why wait!

    • thedaybrightener
      September 8, 2011

      You are so right Cassandra. Thanks so much for your comment. I truly believe each of us has everything we need right here and now to follow our dreams and do what we love. We can’t wait for more time, more money or better tools – we just need to start. The beginning brings its own wonderful energy. I hope Grandma Moses can bring a little inspiration to others to show you don’t need anything fancy, just yourself and your love!

  2. antoniopinon
    September 9, 2011

    Thanks for this inspiring post!!! 🙂
    How often do we forget that opportunities are everywhere?

    • thedaybrightener
      September 9, 2011

      You are so right Antonio. It is not about the door that closes, but all the other ones that are still open! I hope you have a wonderful day.

  3. Michael Collins
    September 9, 2011

    Thank you. I’m sending this on to some of my more elderly students who lament the time they’ve lost not writing. From this they’ll see that they’re the ones who have things to write about now.

    • thedaybrightener
      September 9, 2011

      That’s Great Michael. Thanks so much for your comment and forwarding this post on. Grandma Moses is truly an inspiration for us all, and I hope it brings a little brightness to the days of your students too!

  4. Pingback: All You Need | The Day Brightener

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