The title of Chapter 24 is The Organic Farm. In 1954 Organic Farming was totally new. There weren’t any outlets for organic produce. My mother and father bought and organically farmed 640 acres outside of St. Paul, Minnesota. Sheila participated in the rural artist’s show and entered her paintings in Minnesota State Fair every year.
The painting “Come Play with Me” was painted at the farm. She unconsciously painted tropical bush on the far side of river in the painting.
The pastel painting of the Willows was done mainly plein air, outside where she could be one with her subject:
When the neighbor who lived next door saw this painting he said, “Why, that’s just beautiful. I guess I’ve never looked at willows before.” The he laughed, “Well if a farmer spent all his time looking at trees, he’d never get his work done.”
Sheila said that was one of best compliments she ever received.
The pastel painting below, was very special. It was completed in the hospital just after Sheila gave birth to her youngest child. The painting represents “Peace”. The standing woman in the long dress represented Sheila’s mother. The naked woman is one with nature at peace the tiger lying down with the naked woman and the pair of birds.
This painting is discussed on page 258 and again on page 285 where a man seeing this painting hanging on the wall in her house thought it was a sexual invitation. It was not meant to be sensual at all. Sheila almost destroyed her paintings after that encounter. She changed her mind after seeing an interview with Georgia O’Keefe who said, If they think a painting is sexual, that’s their problem not mine.” Link to book: