With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we thought we should introduce Miriam’s mother, Ellen Maddox Jackson, and her impact on Miriam’s art.
Ellen (b. 1904) was one of five siblings and grew up in a small town and farming community (Easonville) in central Alabama. Her brothers preferred hunting, fishing, and other popular outdoor sports, which Ellen also enjoyed (minus hunting).
Ellen went off to school in Atlanta at a young age and then to Huntingdon College where she played basketball and graduated at 18! She became a high school teacher (briefly) and then opened a cake shop with her sister Birmingham in the 1920s which did extremely well (she even baked a cake for visiting President Warren G. Harding). Then the Depression hit and they lost their business. She met and married Philip Jackson, started a family, and fully embraced her role as wife and mother.
Despite a brief attempt to get Miriam involved in ballet and sports (which didn’t work out), Ellen was unfailing in her support of Miriam’s early interest in art. Though Miriam’s elementary school didn’t have an art teacher, she found ways to support Miriam’s art through lessons in the city at local galleries. She also encouraged and supported her art education at the University of Alabama. And she went to almost every art show Miriam did through the decades. Miriam’s work adorned the walls of her home.
Many of the subjects of Miriam’s works stem from a love of things her mother imparted, like nature, beauty, gardens, and flowers. Her mother kept a garden in her backyard her entire life. Miriam would paint there and later have her own backyard garden. Also, many lake and river scenes in Alabama were painted around the area where her mother grew up and the family gathered.
Interestingly, Miriam’s mother never felt comfortable being the center of a painting. This drawing of Ellen at her desk writing is the only work Miriam ever did of her. It is fitting that she is writing as she almost never stopped communicating and doing up until her passing at 98.
GIFTS FOR MOTHER’S DAY
Why not give the gift of art to your mother for Mother’s Day. Maybe an original is too much of an investment at this time, but have you considered a reproduction of one of Miriam’s works? We have quite a few in Miriam’s Etsy store here >.
Frank & Miriam