Thelma is my maternal grandmother, and though my parents divorced when I was seven, my dad has never ceased to view her as his mother. She grew up in New Orleans and has lived in numerous places since her childhood. She’s a lifelong artist. In her youth, she was a painter in the French Quarter and continues to paint to this day. She came to Charleston when Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and after a few months of living with us, she was adamant to have her own place again.
Walking into her home, the walls are covered with her paintings and eclectic religious decor from a statue of Hotei to a Greek Orthodox Madonna icon I bought for her in Istanbul. Her two pets, a calico cat named Valentino, and a black chihuahua, Rosie, have eccentric yet loving personalities that fit right into her world. When she’s not at church or out with dad or friends, she’s painting in a small room in her home. As with any artist, creative ventures go through phases. Since moving to Charleston, her artwork has focused on painting the swamplands that were nearby in her childhood and stroking rich, colorful hues. Lately, she’s become entranced with images taken by the Hubble telescope, and has started a series inspired by nebulas, star clusters, and galaxies.
*These images are from dad’s and grandma’s weekly breakfast at Cracker Barrel.