Born this day in 1860, Anna Mary Robertson Moses was the third of ten children. As a child, she attended a one-room schoolhouse that is now the Bennington Museum in Vermont. She took art lessons at school and was encouraged by her father at home. At a later age, she wrote, “I was quite small, my father would get me and my brothers white paper by the sheet. He liked to see us draw pictures. It was a penny a sheet and lasted longer than candy.”
As a young wife and mother, Moses applied creative touches to her home. She used house paint to decorate a fireboard, created beautiful quilted objects, and made embroidered pictures of yarn for family and friends.
At the age of 76, she developed arthritis and was forced to abandon embroidery. She turned to painting, focusing on episodes of farm life she had experienced firsthand. A prolific painter, she created over 1,500 canvasses in three decades. She was “discovered” in her eighties.
Here are ten of my favorite quotes from Grandma Moses:
A strange thing is memory and hope; one looks backward, and the other forward; one is of today, the other of tomorrow. Memory is history recorded in our brain, memory is a painter, it paints pictures of the past and of the day.
I like to paint something that leads me on and on into the unknown, something that I want to see away on beyond.
I’ll get an inspiration and start painting; then I’ll forget everything, everything except how things used to be and how to paint it so people will know how we used to live.
A primitive artist is an amateur whose work sells.
People should take time to be happy.
Life is what you make it.
If I hadn’t started painting, I would have raised chickens.
I look back on my life like a good day’s work. It was done and I am satisfied with it.
Even now I am not old. I never think of it, and yet I am a grandmother to eleven grandchildren.
I would never sit back in a rocking chair, waiting for someone to help me.
Happy National Grandma Moses Day!