When artist Maggie Hubbard lost her father abruptly in 2013, she used her artistic talents to aid her grieving process and honor the man who taught her to paint. For almost a year Maggie documented the spaces in which he lived, loved and created.
The chair in which he read, the small art studio in which he worked, the many pairs of glasses which he would inevitably lose… all of these seemingly simple things became paintings. This work was both an act and visual representation of remembrance, grief, and mourning. By sitting in the spaces and reflecting upon my dad, I gained a steady acceptance of his absence.
In honor of Father's Day, we asked Maggie if she would be willing to share a portion of this collection with us and the inspiration behind each piece. She graciously agreed to offer some insight on her process and the consolation found capturing her father's life as she remembers it.
I got a phone call that my dad had died of a heart attack on August 11th, 2013. Within the first hour of this news I said to myself “this gives me reason to paint”. I had just graduated from college a couple months prior and was contemplating whether I should even pursue being a painter. It was such a simple yet profound answer for me; paint to honor my dad. I made all these paintings between September 2013 and July 2014 while living at home with my mom. Instead of working from photographs, I decided to sit in the room I was painting: every piece was made by directly studying the object or space so I could better communicate the lighting, textures, and atmosphere. There is a subtle urgency behind these pieces because I was trying to capture what our home looked like while my dad was still with us - I knew all of these spaces were changing rapidly and it compelled me to work quickly.
The process of documenting memories about my dad was quite life giving. Grief can be such a crippling force but I found that painting gave me a sense of joy and pride in who my dad was. Many tears were shed, lots of just sitting and staring at the subject matter, but then again, moments of incredible pride - in addition to being a father I remembered the amazing teacher he was, the love and kindness he emulated and the playful spirit he carried with him everywhere. In all of my work, by addressing the significance of the ordinary I hope to pass on the realization that no object, place, or soul is insignificant.