What I Learned From My Mother

What I Learned From My Mother

Frances Siddall Gilkerson


Early Friday morning my mother, Frances, passed away in her sleep. At almost 95 she had lived a long and amazingly full life.

Yesterday my family gathered around and shared memories and stories that covered a span of almost 70 years. It was a glorious day full of love and laughter.

I learned so much from my mom – my love of painting, delight in the natural world, and the strong ties of family.

One of my earliest memories was of laying on the kitchen floor drawing while she fixed dinner. Her encouragement of my art making started way back then.

She was a creative herself, majoring in art back in the early 1940s at the University of South Carolina.

Her great love was of watercolor and illustration, and all of us got special drawings and stories for every major life event. Those drawings captured her sense of the magic at the heart of nature.

That life long love of nature led us on many family adventures into the swamps, woods, and marshes of South Carolina.

And it’s back to the island she loved that we’ll be taking her. Where she can delight in the light and color of the big sky, the calls of the birds, and the smell of the marsh.

And I’ll be thinking of her there, just like she was in one of my favorite photos of her, sitting on the front porch steps of our family’s home, enjoying the breeze off of the ocean.

Who do you need to thank for helping you give voice to your dreams?

Giveaway Ideas!

Giveaway Ideas!

“Fall Fence Line”, oil, 4 x 6″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Fall Fence Line”, oil, 4 x 6″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

We’ve got some big plans brewing here at the studio!

I recently asked for suggestions on where to paint within an hour’s drive of Columbia, SC where I’m based. I got so many great suggestions! Many thanks to everyone who responded!!

Ideas exploded out of a brainstorming session I had with my team about painting on locations suggested by all of you.

We’re not quite ready to release all our plans yet, but to give you a hint, think live broadcasts and on location painting.

We want to give everyone who’s following the studio a chance to be a part of what we’re doing so there’ll be a regular giveaway around picking and/or sharing the weekly location.

So I need some feedback and help.

What would you like to see offered in the giveaway? What would make your day and be absolutely delightful?

To share your ideas and feedback, just leave your suggestions in the comments below!

Many Thanks Y’all!!

Long Shadows, Summer // SOLD

Long Shadows, Summer // SOLD

“Long Shadows, Summer”, oil, 5 x 7″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

“Long Shadows, Summer”, oil, 5 x 7″, © Mary Bentz Gilkerson

$325 (unframed) + $10 shipping and handling
[wp_eStore_add_to_cart id=119]

The tall loblolly pines in the picnic area at Congaree National Park cast long patterns of shadows across a deep carpet of pine needles. I painted this same spot back in January when the only things in the forest with leaves were the pines and hollies. It’s as if someone dropped a curtain on the distant trees.