Archive for April 18, 2010

Unfinished Portrait – The Artistic Gene???

“In search of my son- in search of me.”
Part One In search of my son- In search of me
Part TwoTourjours Moi-Always Me
Part Three Always Me – Always Chris
Part Four In search of My Son-
Chris Ritchey – Thanks

Part Five Dark Humour- Shedding a Light
Part Six – The Unfinished Portrait

Part Seven– The Unfinished Portrait- The Artists
(2)part two – Who are we really
Part Eight– When Premonition Becomes Hindsight
Part Nine – When Premonition Becomes Hindsight – Part Two
Part Ten– There is an “I” in Death

Both my children grew to adulthood in this old house in Lorain, Ohio. Both of them stayed here until their respective weddings. We were very fortunate to have those years.

They were surrounded by objects and art from various family sources from thousands of miles and many years ago. They were even the subject of a painting or two themselves.

Portraits painted by Terrence Gabbey ( cousin)

My great-grandfather and his sons ( on my father’s side) were also artists- however whether or not they were very good depends upon whom in the family you talk to 🙂

Great granddad John Henry Stringer
A painting by John Henry Stringer.

Well he did manage to convince Harrods that he was good enough and they commissioned him to paint murals ( in all probability) on their walls. Harrods well there’s a coincidence –a little Harrods’ Bear served me well

His son ( my great-uncle) John Stringer also dabbled and his I have five of his paintings on my walls . If you look closely the signature says Jack Stokes.

His name was ‘Stringer” but because he wanted to join the fight in South Africa and the Boer War , and being that he was not of an age to sign up and against his father’s wishes he lied about his age and family so as to get into the fracas. He took the maiden name of his mother “Stokes” ( she of the Stokes of Stanshawes)


“Jack” lost his arm in the Boer War ( not sure if it was the first or 2nd one) all I know is that when he couldn’t sell enough of his paintings to pay the rent he would pawn his false arm.

There are any number of paintings / beaten copper and tapestry and Nana’s needle point that can be found on my walls . Every room has a family “art work”

We even have a small oil from the 1700’s I have no idea of the artist .

I did take it to the Oberlin Art Museum many years ago who told me it was very dirty – (well what did they expect it is over 300 years old ) – We call her The Old Bitch – dour faced in her old frame- probably Dutch -but who knows a throw away Rembrandt ? She too came from my Grandmother’s house where she was before that only she could tell.

I cannot take down the plethora of paintings etc. Each one means something to me , I am running out of room. I look at uncluttered spaces with envy BUT as I discover more and more of my son’s work in boxes and portfolios the walls are filling up even more. In searching for the fact as to whether this family “knew ” Chris – (as 2nd guessing was thrust upon us by “the committee of 19” ) I have made discoveries as my son’s work speaks and hopefully some that will help his little nephew as he grows. I can tell you Nikki’s walls are filling up too. 🙂 -Thank you Cleveland Institute of Art!

to be continued ….

April 18, 2010 at 11:40 am 13 comments



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April 2010