It runs in the family

I always thought that most of my artistic talents came from my mother, but thinking about my father since his passing, I realize that is not quite correct. My dad liked to make things with his hands. He was a fixer par excellence and, after retirement, he used that talent for his own pleasure.

My boat - Henry Hudson's Half Moon

My boat – Henry Hudson’s Half Moon

He spent many days, weeks, and months building scaled sailing boat model kits which ranged in size from 18″ to over 3 feet. All you had to do was pick one out of the catalog and he was ready to go.  As you can see, the sail rigging was meticulously hand knotted and each and every little piece had its place.  No shortcuts.  He created a wide variety of balsa wood Christmas ornaments and by the end he was up to about 30 per year because everyone in the family got one.  He built a 5′ canary yellow radio controlled Piper Cub sea plane which he flew once and safely landed out at his strip mine lake.  He built and sailed a 5′ model of the battleship Missouri there too.  It was always the process that he enjoyed.  When it was done he was proud, but ready to move onto the next project.

My houses

My houses

But I think he enjoyed making the house models the most.  It all started in 1979 when he made a little scale model of our house as a Christmas ornament – a log cabin John and I built (mostly) with our own hands. After starting with that, he went on to make close to 100 more. There was the large courthouse in Arizona for his sister-in-law’s husband, the houses he and mom grew up in, all of their own homes, and of course all of the children’s and grandchildren’s homes.  Add on the friends who loved the models and wanted one of their own.  He was more than happy to comply.  Summer was for working at maintaining the lake retirement home and property, but winter was the time those for indoor projects.

He got quite sophisticated as the years went by, often taking his own photos when he visited as well as measuring the foundation.  There came to be panes in the windows, railings on the decks, and trees and shrubs in the yard.  Paint colors were accurately applied .  My current house was not easy to do, but if you look closely, you can even see the crane weather vane on top of our gazebo.

They are truly works of art that all of us will treasure as a reminder of him and the things he liked to do for the people he loved.

18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. coastalartglass
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 09:13:11

    Ruth, Beautiful tribute to your Dad. Thank you for sharing.


  2. DixCutler
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 10:33:09

    Lovely, Ruth. He left you wonderful treasures.


  3. Kathy
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 10:42:28

    What a lovely tribute to what sounds like an amazing man and Dad. I just love the houses. So sweet. You can tell he loved making them because of all the details. I love your log cabin. 🙂


    • ruthsartwork
      Jul 21, 2013 @ 11:47:48

      We all love the houses. He would make one for you and one for him. Their hutch was topped with quite a gallery. It’s hard to believe that the log cabin started it all.


  4. Efi Warsh
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 11:39:58

    Ruth,thanks for sharing. Your DD work was fabulous…he was so creative!
    and the houses reminds me so much of your home Portraits.


    • ruthsartwork
      Jul 21, 2013 @ 11:45:28

      Thanks, Efi. As a child of the depression, he learned early on to make his own amusements. I also have a set of baseball players he carved. He was a man of many talents.


  5. Kelly
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 13:13:50

    This is such a wonderful tribute to your Dad. And what amazing heirlooms his models are!! No wonder you’re so amazing at architectural drawings! His talent is living on. 🙂


  6. Cindy D.
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 13:52:57

    Wow, those are quite spectacular! I really think a lot of kids (and adults!) could benefit from the kind of satisfaction you get from making such a great little project to completion. Learning patience, solving small technical problems, and of course all those great fine motor skills!

    Your dad clearly had a real knack for it! I wish everyone could experience such an enjoyable hobby. Might make people less crabby, to have a little place they could go to unwind and work on cool projects. 🙂


    • ruthsartwork
      Jul 21, 2013 @ 14:06:32

      Dad was never idle. He liked to work with his hands and over the years he found what he enjoyed. Retirement for him was doing things. I think you are right – finding something enjoyable to do can keep us all out of trouble. LOL


  7. Mary Walker
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 07:12:18

    So perfectly made I enjoyed zooming in and admiring his tiny details.


  8. ruthsartwork
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 08:47:04

    Yes, Mary, he was a detail man.


  9. lesliepaints
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 10:21:12

    How absolutely COOL! I have several of my Dad’s needlepoints he did after retirement and they are treasured as I am sure these are to you! What beautiful creations!


  10. Jaci
    Jul 22, 2013 @ 13:30:58

    Ruth, my dad has helped me complete 2 woodworking projects this year, and I am already thinking of how I will cherish them when he is gone – and there are no signs of that yet! I know what these mean to you and am so happy that you have them.


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