The Greatest Gift

Our littlest grandchildren, when asked what they wanted for Chanukah this year, each requested a small painting for their new bedrooms. Lasa, who is 8, asked for a unicorn blowing rainbow bubbles. I cheated a little & made this unicorn’s bubbles the colors of a rainbow.

Mila, who is 6, asked for a cheeseburger with French fries and popcorn, her favorite foods. I stuck a toothpick with a gold star in her cheeseburger to celebrate her gold medal win for her vault in a gymnastics competition a few weeks ago.

Teddy, who is 4 and our 6th and last grandchild and only grandson, asked for a shark with a lightning bolt! At first, I painted a more realistic lightning bolt but decided Teddy would appreciate a more cartoony version.

Unfortunately unable to be with our son’s family this holiday season (though we did have a great time with our daughter’s family), I had to ship their Chanukah gifts to them this year. The greatest gift for me was watching their reactions as they each unwrapped their paintings. Priceless!!


I’m not much of a believer when it comes to fantastical things like unicorns and trolls and mermaids, but I’m a grandma, so I suspend my disbelief now and then. Back in early February, when we took our last  trip to Boston, our granddaughter Lasa gave us a picture she had colored of a mermaid, and my husband promised we would have it framed and hang it in our house. Which we did.

A couple of years ago, I gave one of my painting teachers, Aj Rombach, a blank 30”x40” canvas that she covered with an oil ground for me, which is something like gesso, but made of oil, not acrylic. A thick surface resulted, with trowel marks all over, so it wouldn’t have served for most of my portrait and figure work, which is usually very smooth. The texture somehow suggested water to me, so I painted the background first, and then, inspired by Lasa’s little mermaid, I thought I’d paint my own. She’s underwater, just like those jellyfish I’ve painted before, and even looks a little transparent, which seems suitable for a figure that may or may not be quite real.

Note: Though a picture is often worth a thousand words, some paintings are just better viewed in person, whenever possible. Since I don’t have that option, this photo will have to do.