Oil on canvas aprox 11x14
It was about this time that my grandfather was diagnosed with cancer. My grandmother battled later stage kidney disease brought on by diabetes. Sitting on the screened in porch of their home , they both opened up with stories that were never really shared with the grandkids. They shared a challenging life, raising five kids in a two bedroom home my wife and I sometimes find a bit small. They talked about financial struggles and the worries of maintaining employment in a milltown with little regard for the laborers. Unions were at their strongest providing medical insurance and leads to the next factory with a big contract. They both worked without much open complaint, soetime sixty or even more hours. The real money for my grandfather was in the overtime. My Grandmother, working as a piecework presser made her money with her speed and efficiency, but there was little quality time left for family, and that had other costs, and longer tales.
Those discussions fueled my own fires. As a young man I was filled with rage and fear. I knew I wanted nothing to do with those damned factories. My path led through the U.S. Coast Guard and into college studying art. After a day listening to the tales from my elders, I returned to the studio and painted a scream. There are attempts at symbolology and a search for a voice. This image haunts me.
Both of my grandparent passed away within five years of me paintng this one. Both endured years of physical pain. But they saw me earn my degree, and they attended my first solo exibit. I think they were proud.