Influences – The Natural World

Today, in Celebration of what would have been Inez’s 96th birthday, let’s take a further look at some of her early influences.

As a young girl Inez was often in nature. Her aunt Ethel was a Girl Scout and her family went on nature hikes and camped. Despite growing up in the depression, or perhaps due to it, her family spent a great deal of time outdoors in all seasons.

Having her aunt Ethel’s Girl Scout influence and her aunt Carrie’s painting influence, there’s no surprise that nature and art infused Inez’s life.

Ethel at Girl Scout Camp, Moreau Lake, NY – c. 1918

Here is a compilation of home movie clips from 1937-1939 of Inez, her brother Frank, and their parents enjoying the great outdoors (3:11).

1937-1939 – Clip compilation of Inez and family: Hiking Whiteface Mountain; Climbing and Camping (in dresses!), Snowball fight and Skiing without poles (!) and a Toboggan Ride

FAST FORWARD to Inez’s married years. While raising her children and working in advertising design, Inez continued to draw and paint for pleasure. During these years she also spent a great deal of time in nature and continued learning about the natural world.

Inez enjoyed gardening with flowers as well as fruit, vegetables and herbs. She grew rhubarb, strawberries, gooseberries and currants. Every year there were peas, tomatoes, cucumbers and many other vegetables.

Ed and Inez’s family explored the natural world together, with many camping trips throughout the Northeast region, up and down the East Coast, and even a summer trip across the USA to visit many of the National Parks. They canoed in summers and cross country skied in winters. Inez was a birdwatcher and learned a great deal about the birds of North America.

As a Girl Scout leader for nearly a decade, she shared her knowledge of birds, animals and plants with the girls on nature hikes and on annual camping trips.

Ed and Inez were supportive of the environmental movement in 1960’s and 70’s. They held paper drives and taught their children to respect nature. They primarily heated their suburban home with a wood stove and fireplace, and grew and preserved a significant crop of fruits and vegetables. Inez busily canned and dehydrated her crops throughout the summer months for use during the winter.

Much of Inez’s artwork during this period reflects her joy and appreciation of nature. Here are a few of her drawings and paintings from the 1960’s & 70’s.

Up next: Inez explores geometric abstraction art.

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