"A Gentle Heart": My Grand Aunt Lovina's Story
Updated: Nov 8, 2018
This is my latest Time Lapse Art and Ancestral Portrait. My Grand Aunt Lovina was my great grandmother's 3rd oldest sister. She was her mother's favorite and such a gentle, graceful soul. I loved learning her story, even though it is a sad one.
This is what my grand aunt Opal, my great grandma's youngest sister, wrote about her:
This morning my first thoughts were of my angel sister, Vina, my Mother’s third daughter, named Lovina after my little Welch grandmother, Lovina Jones Lake Brimhall. Vina or just plain“Vine” as we called her, was a beautiful, slender girl with medium brown hair, which grew so long it was almost a foot below her knees, a great crown for her lovely head. Vina had hazel eyes. Mother always called her Vinee and I believe she was my Mother’s favorite daughter.
[ She was a refined, lovely young woman, an accomplished seamstress and musically talented with a beautiful voice. She fell in love with a boy who went on a mission and she agreed to wait. When he came back he rejected her and it was said she died of a broken heart. She died of tuberculosis. (Madge Reeves)]
Some of this dear sisters talents were Music and Art. She often sang solos and her voice was lovely. Vina painted with water colors, lovely still life paintings of fruits and flowers. She also learned to do beautiful China Painting. Vina taught at the Academy in Thatcher for a while. Then one year she and my sister Dora went to Salt Lake to study tailoring and pattern drafting. They became most expert in this work and were both talented seamstresses. Vina did lovely embroidery. I don’t know where Vina learned to do millinery work but I remember some of the elegant hats she made for herself. While living in San Diego she worked in a Millinery shop.
It was Vina who encouraged me to develop my artistic talents, and she paid for my first music lessons, I was seven years old when I started my music lessons on the piano. My first teacher's name was Mrs. Velch. I used to love to go to my piano lessons all dressed up neat and clean, but I didn’t like to practice. We were still living in Thatcher Arizona. It was my sister Vina who inspired me to paint and draw. I wanted to become as fine an artist as Vina. My sister Vina always encouraged me, also she used to make me some lovely dresses. I always had good handmade dresses. I still have one of those dresses I wore as a child.
Vina was in Utah when she took sick, I never knew what made her ill. The Doctors said she had a tumor, I wonder if she had cancer, because when she arrived home from Utah she was confined to her bed. She had dysentery, often I was up at night attending to her needs. She was taken to the Hospital and I never saw her alive again. Vina never married. She waited four years for a missionary. She made some lovely things for her hope chest. The day finally came for her missionary to return from the Islands. Vina was still living in Thatcher, Arizona. They planned their wedding and went to Salt Lake City for a Temple marriage, but the young man backed out and said he wasn’t worthy of her, and he broke off the engagement. So it was a sad and broken hearted young girl that returned home.
My beautiful sister died in 1915, in San Diego, California. I am sure Vina returned to her Heavenly Father as pure and sweet as it was possible for her to be. Vina’s death was a terrible blow to my Mother, and I don’t think she ever got over this special sadness. Father adored her and he was also grief stricken at her death. He was a brick mason and he made a vault for Vina’s casket and lined it with brick.
When I read this story, and then saw Lovina's photograph, it stayed with me for years. I believe it was partly because her story was so sad, and partly because I felt a kinship to her, because, as a painter, musician, seamstress, etc, she seemed to understand the need for creativity in her own life as well.
And so, after painting my great aunt Naomi's portrait a few weeks ago, "Nothing Gold Can Stay" I knew I had to do the same for Lovina. She died before she could meet someone knew, marry and have children, and therefore has no posterity to remember her. I felt an extra special need to remember her myself.
The postcard that I used in the painting is a postcard Lovina sent to my great grandmother when she was nine years old. It was found in my grandmother's things after she passed away at age 84. She'd kept it all that time, so it must've meant a great deal to her.
I only hope this painting has done sweet Aunt Lovina justice.
Lot's of Love,