A Passionate Lifetime

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Imagine living without the internet, television, or electricity. It’s hard, right? My dad, Ed McCartan, grew up in such a place; A farm located miles away from the closest town, Lake Five, Wisconsin. He went to school in the classic one-room school house and graduated, the only one in his class. Although he is quick with a smile and a joke, it’s possible his shy manner came from this isolation. Somewhere along the line, he discovered art. He bought a motorcycle and commuted to Milwaukee to attend the Layton School of Art.

Ed McCartan 4Most people have nine to five jobs. But some who are lucky enough to have found their passion, never punch out. They use their creative outlet to express themselves during their free time too. My dad is one of those lucky people.
Dad's paintings 2He was one of the original Mad Men and worked in advertising for decades. Somehow, he never burned out. Instead, he sketched at night while we watched TV and then painted watercolors, oils and acrylics on the weekends.

Dad's paintings 1

My sister, brother and I often drew alongside him. Crayons were our chosen media. There was something about a new box of crayons. The colors. The smell.

Charlie and the FarmSome of my fondest memories are of my dad painting on location during camping trips or while picnicking. All of his work has chronicled events from his life much like photographs. The difference? He captured the energy or the emotion of all of those memories in the use of color and expression on canvas or paper.

Dad's painting's 3

My dad and I share a love of art. Many of you know I was a medical illustrator. When I found my passion in writing, I thought he may not relate. Instead, he listens intently when describing my ideas for books or screenplays. He still gives me advice and encouragement.

Dad at the drawing board

After retiring, he and my mom settled into a routine. They would enjoy a leisurely breakfast which always included my mom’s homemade bread. Then he would draw at a table in their living room, only taking a short break to eat an apple for lunch. He would quit when one of my mom’s gourmet dinners was ready.

mom and dad1

Last year, my mom had many of his pieces framed and hung. Their house soon resembled an art gallery. My reserved dad, loved it. He enjoyed pointing out certain paintings and would tell the story behind each one.

Ed McCartan

My dad has never been a whiner, a complainer, or a crepe-hanger, a term my mom would use. He must have endured knee pain for years without telling anyone.

Edmund Fitzgerald

This spring, he relocated to the nursing home. I worried he would be disoriented or depressed. It didn’t take long before he adapted to a similar schedule to the one he had at home, but with the added bonus of dinner for lunch complete with dessert. He’s all about dessert.

Pope Francis by Ed McCartan

At eighty-nine years old, he still enjoys his passion. Instead of painting, he draws. Instead of creating art on location, he works from books, and photographs from his family Bible. My mom visits every day. She hasn’t been able to keep up with the volumes of work he has produced. Instead of framing all of them, she plans to fill albums with his work.

A wild rumpus

A lot has changed since those days on the farm. Now he is surrounded by many caretakers and people who love him. But his passion has remained a constant.

In July, hospice is planning his first retrospective art show. I’m not sure they’ll be able to rent enough easels. No matter. My dad will enjoy pointing out particular paintings to talk about. The next day he will return to his drawing board to create something new. Something that will express himself. He’ll spend his time drawing because it’s his passion.

Ed McCartan and his daughter susie lindau

Happy Father’s Day, dad!

My dad passed in October 2015, but I’m thinking of him today!

Do you have a passion or a hobby?

77 thoughts on “A Passionate Lifetime

  1. I really felt heartened by this post, Susie. What a tribute to a wonderfully talented artist! It just goes to show that talent isn’t something finite that can be used up – it’s there forever. This is one of my favorite posts of yours. 🙂

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  2. The creative apple doesn’t fall far from your family tree! Loved this post and the love between you and your father you share in your respective arts.

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    • Thanks so much, Gail! You’re right about that apple. My brother and sister are also very artistic, so are my kids. It’s a strong gene pool! It is a bonus to have that support.

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  3. He had lots of beautiful paintings without the help of technology or internet. A true artist ! My mom use to paint a lot too when i was young and i still remember her art works, maybe i will post it one day.

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    • I agree! He is a true artist.
      You should definitely post about her work. She would love it!
      I was thinking how great it is to have a few posts where the photos are together and backed up.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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    • Thanks Tim! My dad is an amazing man. It was fun writing it and going through the pictures. This is only a very small representation of his work. There are tons of paintings!

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    • Thanks so much, Darla! He is so very talented.
      He has never shown his work in a gallery. He has almost 80 years of work. I love how the world has changed like the old tug boats on the water and the horse and plow he painted when he was a teenager. Pretty cool. It’s a glimpse into the past.
      Have a fabulous weekend!

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  4. Oh you are indeed the little apple that fell from the wonderful tree called “dad”. His framed work is indeed a treasure! I actually thought you were going to let us know of his Gallery opening, but instead I laughed when you said these beautiful pieces were in the house. I especially like the farm paintings. Happiest of Father’s Days to your dad and I hope you write about that upcoming show…sounds like it will be a gem.

    As a kid a new box of crayons was like hitting the lottery!

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    • Thanks Lisa!
      I just found out the art show will be held at the end of July, so I will do a follow-up post, for sure! Their house is packed with his paintings. I’ll have to take more photos when I go back. I’m amazed he has never shown in a gallery.

      I still look at boxes of Crayolas and smile!
      Have a great weekend.

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  5. I see where you got your gift!

    I actually stayed at a college when I went for the semester in 2010 and my RA was a biological illustrator. Small world. 🙂

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  6. Wonderful story. Good for your dad. We haven’t had TV for over 30 years, we didn’t have Internet until 2000 and didn’t get fast Internet (12Mbps) until it became available this year in our area. In the early years before Intel built its first plant on the hill above us, our electricity went out a lot and often for long periods of time.

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    • Wow! That must make blogging a challenge. We just improved our high speed and it ROCKS! Do you get your news through the internet? I can’t imagine life without TV. I don’t watch it except at night. We watch a lot of movies. Now that I’m screenwriting, I think of it as homework!
      Thanks so much Tim!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can’t deal with network news — pure propaganda. I have to go through a lot of news sources on the Internet to sort out news events. Even then it can be very difficult to get good, reliable info. We have watch movies now and then, but mostly French, Italian, Spanish or other foreign. I can’t deal with Hollywood either.

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    • He is! Painting is only one of his many talents. He used to rebuild his cars. He could turn a chair leg on a lathe, build cabinets, rebuild and carve pieces for furniture. You name it. He could do just about anything or at least try!

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    • Thanks Bruce! I remember when he started working out of the house and had started his own agency. He would dress every morning in a pressed dress shirt and pants and go downstairs to work. He would take a short lunch break and at 5:00 sharp he would quit. Of course he often face deadlines which kept him working much later. He was so organized, self-motivated, and driven. Pretty amazing guy!

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  7. Thank you for sharing this today. I’ve been feeling a bit fatigue from all the news, and this made me heart a little lighter. Beautiful tribute to an amazing artist. Best to both of you.

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    • Thanks Nagzilla!
      He has accomplished and created so much. These paintings are only a sample. He was and is a very creative and talented man. He grew up in a time when you were expected to fix everything. He could take an car engine apart or carve a piece wood for furniture. Amazing!

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    • Thanks Carrie!
      He has taken his love for art and made a huge part of his lifestyle. There are a lot more paintings and tons of drawings. I wish I had photos of all of them. I can’t wait for him to see this post. My brother is bringing in his computer to show him, today!
      Have a great weekend.

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    • Thanks Cathy!
      My camera doesn’t do them justice. With all the reflection from the windows, they were hard to photograph. The house is full of his work. I’m going back for his show at the end of July. (They picked a date yesterday.) I can’t wait to see his new projects!

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  8. What a beautiful tribute to a lovely, talented man. You are blessed in so many ways. I’m so happy I finally get to see his artwork. Thank you so much for sharing it with us, Susie. Happy Father’s Day to your wonderful Dad.

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    • Thanks Mary! I am truly blessed. I keep finding more artwork to add to this piece. I remembered I have a photo of one of his murals too!
      He’ll see this post today. I’m sure he’ll enjoy reading all of these kind comments!

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  9. Susie – how very cool. I remember the first post I read of yours – it was about your dad and it was a father’s day tribute in 2011. What an amazing person your dad is what memories you have of your dad. I am glad your mom framed his work, that must have made his day, and hers too. Have a wonderful weekend and happy father’s day to your dad!

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    • Me too!
      He is gifted and talented in so many ways. I think we all are. We just need to discover what that talent is.
      I can’t wait until his show next month. It will be fun to see what he has been drawing.
      Thanks so much, Maggie! And thanks again for guest posting for me. It was exactly what I had hoped for!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This gorgeous post had me smiling and tearing up at the same time. And, through your love and admiration of your wonderful father, I feel like you give us a special insight into his equally passionate daughter. Thanks for the lovely Father’s Day present!

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    • Thanks so much, Barb!
      He is a great man and father. It was fun to put this together. I am still finding more photos of artwork to include in this post. I’ll have to take some photos of his drawings the next time I visit. He has tons of them!
      Have a lovely weekend!

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    • Awww! Thanks Viva!
      The support from my parents is still so important to me. It was cool how he accepted my new passion. I would say that you hit it on the head. He is so centered and in the moment at all times that it does make for a fulfilling life. He’s never been one to worry about the future or dwell in the past. It’s a good lesson for all of us.
      Happy weekend to you!

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  11. Susie, this is so lovely. It’s now clear where your artistic talent comes from. Wish I could come to your dad’s art show and cheer him on. I love that sketch about the Pope’s book – it’s so touching and inspiring!

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    • Thanks so much, Peg!
      He is so gifted. He really has an eye and could draw or paint subjects from memory. I could never do that. He drew every photo from his Bible and then drew the Pope. Now his drawings have become more skewed, abstract. They are really cool! I wish you could come too! That would be a hoot!

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  12. What a cool story about your Dad! No wonder you have such awesome drawings, art runs in your blood! How funny I just saw a movie called Words&Pictures, with Clive Owen. Duuuude that’s you! You’re talented in both words and pictures. Movie is pretty cool too (Netflix) your Dad’s drawings are pretty amazing, I’d love to hear the story behind those paintings. So glad that even though he’s in a different environment, that his passion hasn’t fizzled out and that it gives home great joy. Very cool shots of all the framed art.

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    • Thanks so much, Guat!
      I will definitely check that movie out. We were surrounded with art growing up and I took it for granted. Looking back, that creative environment inspired all three of his kids. My sister is painting and hopes to have her own show soon. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. They say that if you find your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life. It sounds like your dad did just that. What a talented artist he is! Now I see where you get it, Susie!

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    • Missed your comment! Shesh!
      Thank you Jackie! My brother, sister and I grew up with pencils and crayons in our hands. It was back in the day when there was a lot more free time. We rarely got bored! Now I enjoy writing in the same way. I don’t feel like it’s work at all. Maybe when I start being paid for it. 🙂

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  14. What an AMAZEBALLS post about Your AMAZING DAD – love the art and it is good to have a passion/hobby throughout one’s lifetime 🙂 I love reading, writing and taking photographs and hope to be doing it well into my 90’s. Thanks so much for sharing!

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