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Home is a Story in the Making: Art

by Magnolia
Published on February 24, 2023

When Chip and I were first married, we had such a small kitchen, we used a 3’ x 3’ wooden cart as an island. I’d clear it of the picture frames and books that normally sat on top and wheel it from the living room into our tiny kitchen so guests could hang out with me while I finished cooking and preparing drinks. Somewhere along the way, as we laughed and ate pie around that cart, the quirky spot became the heartbeat of our home. Even now that we have a much larger kitchen, I still think about that cart sometimes—the memories it held of belonging and connection. The role it played in our unfolding story reminds me of this truth: home is the people we love.

Maybe an item like this comes to your mind too—a piece that connects one generation to the next and has held you up through all that life brings. I asked our team to create a series of posts and share their own stories, so that together, we can step back from the day-to-day and look at our homes in a new way—each as its own story in the making. Up next in the series: art.

My grandparents had several paintings from a local Del Rio, Texas artist in their house—including this portrait of an old man. He oddly feels like part of my family because of the space he holds in my memories. Right after my grandmother died I asked for the painting, but another relative kept it. I always regretted letting it go. Over four years later, I heard that the same relative was storing it in his garage, so I asked for it again and he let me pick it up. My family teased me and asked why I wanted this portrait of a random man so badly. It’s hard to explain, but I cherish him. This painting reminds me of a place that feels like home. When a piece makes you feel like that, you take it with you—so I plan to give him a place in my newly renovated home when it’s finished. Soon he won’t just be a part of my past, but my future.

Callie Adams, Events Manager

I’ve had this NOAA nautical chart of the coast of North Carolina, where I grew up, for almost ten years. It’s a map with an outline of the land, the channel, and the depth of the channel. My dad is a harbor pilot, so when I was growing up, he’d follow maps like this to bring ships into the port. Nautical charts aren’t usually used for artwork, but I hang it up wherever I go because it reminds me of home and my childhood. My mom and sister have one in their homes too, so it’s this special piece that connects all of us.

Hannah Harris, Magnolia Journal Production Manager

Even at an early age, my grandmom was a talented artist. She got accepted into an art school in Philadelphia, but unfortunately due to her severe asthma, she was unable to stay in the program. It wasn’t until after her children grew up that she started painting again. She mostly did landscapes—Bob Ross style. This oil painting, a view from her backyard, is the first one she completed after her 20-year hiatus. My family gave it to me after I graduated from art school as a reminder to keep going.

My grandmom was a huge influence on me because she saw my talent and encouraged my desire to pursue art as a career. Over the years, I’ve seen how my story reflects hers, because years later, I still go through seasons where it’s hard to pick up painting again without taking myself too seriously. But looking at this reminds me to keep creating—to not worry about what it’s for, but to do it simply because I love it.

Alli McGrane, Art Director of Photography

I’ll never forget the day my friend gave me this painting. I was packing up to move across the country to Waco, she came over early that rainy morning, and I was about to take off with a fully packed car and an empty house. In tears, she gave me the painting (which was still wet on the canvas) and shared what our friendship meant to her. I gave her a big, tearful hug goodbye, and that piece of art was one of the first things I hung in my new home. It will forever be one of my most treasured pieces. Whenever I look at it, it reminds me of how art can speak to our deepest emotions through high and low seasons, and how people, no matter where they are, can make a new city feel like home.

Ruthie Martin, Graphic Designer