In the corner of a lean-to whitewashed attic stood a fine, plain, solid oak bureau. By climbing up on to this bureau I could see from the window the glories of the sunset. My attic was on a hill in a large and busy town, and the smoke of a thousand chimneys hung like a gray veil between me and the fires in the sky. When the sun had set, and the scarlet and gold, violet and primrose, and all those magic colors that have no names, had faded into the dark, there were other fires for me to see. The flaming forges came out, and terrified while they fascinated my childish imagination.
I hold very strongly that a child’s earliest impressions mould its character perhaps more than either heredity or education. I am sure it is true in my case. What first impressed me? An attic, an oak bureau, a lovely face, a bed on the floor. Things have come and gone in my life since then, but they have been powerless to efface those early impressions. I adore pretty faces. I can’t keep away from shops where they sell good old furniture like my bureau. I like plain rooms with low ceilings better than any other rooms; and for my afternoon siesta, which is one of my institutions, I often choose the floor in preference to bed or sofa.
What we remember in our childhood and what we are told afterwards often become inextricably confused in our minds… ”
15 1/2 x 20 1/2″, colored pencil portrait of a young Beatrix Potter-looking Olivia and Lady
“Thank God I have the seeing eye, that is to say, as I lie in bed I can walk step by step on the fells and rough land seeing every stone and flower and patch of bog and cotton pass where my old legs will never take me again.”
“I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.”
“I remember I used to half believe and wholly play with fairies when I was a child. What heaven can be more real than to retain the spirit-world of childhood, tempered and balanced by knowledge and common-sense.”
“The place is changed now, and many familiar faces are gone, but the greatest change is myself. I was a child then, I had no idea what the world would be like. I wished to trust myself on the waters and the sea. Everything was romantic in my imagination. The woods were peopled by the mysterious good folk. The Lords and Ladies of the last century walked with me along the overgrown paths, and picked the old fashioned flowers among the box and rose hedges of the garden.”
“Thank goodness my education was neglected.” -Beatrix Potter
At the Heart (coeur) of my Girl Heroes is courageousness. Not in the sense of the turn-off successful; the strong, the bitchy, the step-on-others-to-the-top type. My Girl Heroes are those who show a type of quiet courage, ordinary heroes, the day-to-day courageous. They face their struggles, diabetes, thyroid, emotional issues, family struggles, the get-out-of-the-box and try it anyway, type. The true to themselves type. They remind me of people. Women we eventually hear about, usually honored later when someone recognizes this person has been here all along doing this. Wow. And then Emily is no longer the bane of her family’s existence, abused by her siblings. Beatrix is no longer just the girl who liked to draw science. Like the struggles I have had in my own life, yet I get up everyday, teach, do what I have to, make art. This quietly courageous and enduring quality inspires.