Common Thread

This oil on canvas “Common Thread” painting was selected for an exhibit at the St. Louis Artists’ Guild called “Shifts in Perspective : Migrating viewpoints”. Here is my statement about this painting for this show.

I am the great grandson of immigrants. Mostly German to be exact. I graduated from high school and college and pursued my dream of being an illustrator,painter and teacher. I have always made my living from doing what I love. I suppose my great grandparents, like most immigrants coming to the US in the late 1800’s,were in search of more freedom and greater opportunity. Greater opportunity for hopefully themselves,but ultimately for their children,grandchildren and generations beyond. My parents and grandparents had limited formal education. My mother and her mother were both seamstresses. My mother was artistic,but had no real opportunities to pursue her talent. This painting honors my mother and grandmother as a portrait of their tools. I have entitled it “Common Thread”.

Common is defined as “shared by,coming from or done by more than one” . Thread is a theme or characteristic running through a situation but is also of course ,literally,a necessity for sewing,repairing,mending and creating.

What is more common among us than our ancestors’ migrating quest for a better life,more opportunity or more prosperity? What could be a more suitable metaphor for this ideal? I found it to be a rendering of the tools of a trade that sustained people as they pursued this dream of hope and the perception of possibilities to come.

Thanks to  my wife Carolyn for helping me put my thoughts together on this statement.  John Dyess

  1. Glenn Myers says:

    Again your portraits of life’s “common” moments elevate them far beyond common. This honors not only your mother and grandmother but also the human spirit “common” to us all. Thanks for the personal sharing as well.

  2. John Smith says:

    Hi, John

    Fascinating post!

    In one of the classes I teach, students write about the various similarities and differences they share culturally with their parents and grandparents. The assignment addresses some of the same issues as your observations.

    May I use your post in my class to help stimulate the student’s thoughts as they approach this assignment?


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