Happy Memorial Day, Artsies! Hope you are out celebrating with friends and family. Chances are if you aren’t completely land-locked, you’ll be spending some time in, on or near the water. Hubby & I are spending the holiday moving from our temporary rental in town to our summer rental on Hayden Lake here in Northern Idaho. It’s still been pretty chilly here, so we won’t be doing any in-water activities, but I’m sure we’ll find ourselves soaking up the sun and just enjoying lake life. Columbus, Ohio artist Laura Sanders perfectly captures the wonder of water-logged summers.
Obstructed Horizon, oil on canvas
I was immediately drawn to Sanders’ work, not just because George & I will be enjoying lake life this summer, but also because her work beautifully portrays the joyful memories of my own summer lake experiences as a young girl. My older brother, Jason & I used to spend a few weeks of every summer at the home of our great aunt & uncle, who were active retirees living on small Hall Lake in Northern Florida. Aunt Helen & Uncle Vernon were still fairly young, but had no grandchildren yet, so we filled the void, spending lazy days swimming, fishing, biking and just generally having the time of our lives.
Untitled, oil on canvas, 36×36
Jason was into taking my uncle’s little johnboat around the lake for a spin and biking up and down the clay road, while I, like the girls Sanders’ paints, was more the little mermaid. I loved being in the water, the feel of it on my skin, the sun beating down, heating up the inner tube until it got just hot enough to need to dunk under for a bit of relief. Uncle Vernon loved to swim, too, and spent hours in the lake with us, while Aunt Helen was the disciplinarian. She firmly believed in the no swimming just after lunch rule.. much to our chagrin. But she always brought us Fla-Vor-Ice’s while we swam, so all was forgiven.
Noon, oil on canvas, 25×27
As we grew older, our time at the lake grew shorter. We became busy with teenage life and Aunt Helen & Uncle Vernon finally had a grandson of their own to spoil. We moved on, but they held a very special place in our hearts. They’ve both passed now, Vernon several years ago and Helen just last year. But the memories we made with them live on. Every once in a while, a breeze stirs up or I’m near the water, or see paintings like Laura Sanders’ and I am immediately transported back to Hall Lake. I can feel their presence and hear Aunt Helen scolding Uncle Vernon for keeping us in the water too long, just before she rings the old dinner bell by the back door.
Cloud Cover, oil on canvas, 52×42
Later Summer, oil on canvas
I hope you’ve spent this Memorial Day making some wonderful memories of your own! To see more of Laura Sanders’ work, please visit her website. For a little bonus, scroll down to the end of this post to see a special photo from my days at Hall Lake. 😉
Featured image is Girls and Plastic Floating, oil on canvas. All images are via the artist’s website or the website of her representing gallery, Rebecca Ibel Gallery.
Here’s your bonus pic!
Hall Lake, Summer 1982
l to r: My brother Jason, our friend & lake neighbor Glenn Hayhurst,
his sister Shelley, yours truly