Thursday, June 30, 2011

Who Are You? Where Are You From?

My Day of Rest, Original oil on canvas Helen Tilston
Who Are You, Where Are You All From?

During my single days some years ago, three of us were out for a drink following a difficult day at the office. We were deep in conversation when I noticed a table of handsome men glancing in our direction. Finally one plucked up courage to approach our table, shuffled his feet  and in a  shy fashion asked "Where Y'all From" (I think he was from Texas) I responded, I am from Ireland, Gillian is from Jamaica and Jen is from India  (both Gillian and Jen are caucasian of English descent).  The Texan, disbelieving, got all huffed and said "Lady if you do not wish to talk to me just say so, but you don't have to tell lies and be  a smart a**). 
Come and Stay Awhile, Original Oil on canvas Helen Tilston
Original Oil paintings by Helen Tilston


Recently at one of our art openings a lady approached me and asked me where I was from, I told her Ireland.  She said "we all thought you were French, you paint like a French artist, you even look French" A flattering compliment which I accepted graciously.

I pondered and wondered why she felt so strongly that I was French and then I remembered that I am a Celt and that is a possible answer.
The Celts were a diverse group of tribal societies in the Iron Age and Roman-era Europe who spoke Gaelic. Linguistically they still survive in  Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany and in the Basque region of Spain.  Their influence is visible in these regions.

The Irish group, The Chieftains, did a documentary featuring the Celtic music and traditions still prevalent in these places, outside Ireland.   I was unsuccessful in finding the video on u tube, however this Chieftain recording featuring Alison Krauss  I feel is appropriate.






I hope my fate differs from Molly Ban's

Who are you and where are you from?

55 comments:

  1. Hello Helena:
    Who are we indeed?!! If we knew the answer to that, then most likely we should cease to inhabit the world of Peter Pan, grow up, obtain proper work, go to McDonald's [perhaps not that], wash the car [which would need to be bought] in the drive on Sundays and spend our holidays at Disney Land. As for where we are from......? Too much for a Friday morning before breakfast!!

    But we loved your story of the Texan in this post, trying to fathom out where you and your friends were from. And the disbelief! Such fun!

    But best of all about this post has been the opportunity to see more of your work. We do so hope that other readers will enlarge your images which, in so doing, really does bring the paintings to life. Oh, Helena, the colours, the vibrancy, the freshness of the scenes - all so very wonderful and redolent of places we have all known.

    Have a lovely weekend.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hi Helen, 'You are a child of the Universe, no less than the trees and the stars'.I have always felt that Southern Ireland is very European.Even as a child, the feeling, once over the border, of being in a completely different country, has never eroded.You have that lovely laid back attitude, and are so much more into art, culture and history than here in the North.Your paintings do indeed have that wonderful French Impressionist feel about them. I would definitely like to 'stay awhile' in that wonderful yellow house by the sea! My daughter Lois was so thrilled that you a 'real' painter had said her drawing was good. She was really willing it for you to win the coffee cosy, but c'est la vie, it was not to be! Thankyou for your lovely comments. I feel really enriched, by your communications...thankyou! Have a great weekend, love Linda x Oh I nearly forgot, thankyou for the video, I love Alison Krauss, she sings like an angel, and I hadn't heard her sing that before! x

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh Helen, I so admire your work! Your colours and style are truly beautiful....
    Like a lot of Australian's I & my husband are from Irish descent.

    Have a wonderful weekend, Kerry

    ReplyDelete
  4. Great Video!

    Who am I and where am I from?

    I'm Ron and I was born in Los Angeles, California, USA in 1946 :-)

    Have a great weekend :-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Helen,
    How can I thank you for the lovely comments you've graced my blog with lately?
    They mean the world to me... Thank you!
    I'm looking forward to catching up on all my favorite and newly discovered blogs like yours while I'm away.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
    Love,
    Terri

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love your paintings, they so remind me of our life in Croatia:peaceful, beautiful, magical place.

    recently a customer asked me where I was from. I have olive skin color, brown hair but gray eyes and with a thick accent. I replied I was born in Mexico, grew up in Texas and went to school in Iowa, and spent two years overseas...he said, oh I hope I didn't offend you. Not at all, I said, my accent gives me away that I'm Latin right?

    but when they see my colored eyes, instead of dark brown eyes, well people just don't know. LOL

    ReplyDelete
  7. What a great post! Just came across your blog and fell in love with it immediately! You have amazing sense of style!!!
    Check out my blog and follow if you like it, I will do the same in return!
    www.fullclosetbutnothingtowear.blogspot.com
    Hope to see you soon!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hello Helen
    I am so pleased you have shown more of your wonderful work in this post. The colours you use are so beautiful, I especially love the paintings with boats as they take me back to my childhood days when my father would sail his yacht.
    I have thought about finding more about my family, but all my grandparents and my father died before I was aged 12. They were from England, Ireland and Scotland but several of my fathers family settled in America so it would be a huge task!
    I hope you have a lovely weekend. Abby xx

    ReplyDelete
  9. The response from the possible Texan does not surprise me Helen. Although I cannot typecast all Texan as being the same, it is often that many (since we've lived here) are not as 'worldly' or perhaps geographically educated as most people I've talked to. One of my daughter's friends thought Seattle was in D.C.; I could share many stories especially with having a husband from Scotland. Your art is gorgeous, you are so very talented. My husband told me once that all the people from Scotland originated from Ireland, a fact I did not know.
    I'm from Seattle, WA born in Montana from great grandparents born in Norway, and Germany, and descendents of Gallaway, Ireland. I am a huge fan of the Chieftains having gone to see them play live in Seattle at a winery outdoors on two occasions. My heart strings are pulled to Ireland. I absolutely love the music, the people and the gorgeous country. I wish you a very happy weekend Helen.

    Slainte ~ x Deb

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hello Jane and Lance
    I can just see you both sipping champagne and discussing literature with the Kondor's.
    No, please do not grow up and stay away from McDonalds despite the fact they give away some great little toys with their supersized supermacs.I simply cannot see you at Disney World or Las Vegas for that matter.I am really unconcerned about where you are from. It is where you two are going that more concerns and interest me! So I wait with bated breath for each new posting.
    Thanks again for you kind, flattering comments on my art and for taking the time to read my blog and visit.

    Warmest wishes
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hello Helen, Come and stay a while is such a beautiful painting, you are incredibly talented.
    Who am I....well I've asked myself this for years! I now feel able to say quite happily, I am Me! I'm not sure where I come from, my husband would probably say another planet!! xx

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hello Linda at Flowers at my Table

    Always lovely to hear from you and please thank Lois wanting me to be the winner of the cozy. I hope she keeps painting. She has talent. Then of course she would having such a creative and fun loving mother. Your life looks charming Linda and you have some beautiful scenery in your area.
    It is great that we are enriched by two distinct cultures in Ireland. As a teenager I loved travelling to Belfast for weekends and the wonderful shopping.
    Thanks Linda for your kind and positive comments on my paintings.
    So glad you like Alison Krauss - she has an incredibly beautiful voice.
    Helenxxx

    ReplyDelete
  13. Haha! your story cracked me up!
    Sometimes the truth is the most unbelievable for some folks.
    I have German,Irish and Italian descent.
    My parents were born in raised in Minnesota and Illinois.
    I was born in Colorado and now we all live in Idaho.
    So, there!
    If thats not American,I dont know what is;)
    Beautiful painting!
    Have a great weekend!!!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hello Kerry,
    Thank you so kindly for stopping by and your kind support and encouragement is much appreciated.
    Australia is a beautiful country and I have wonderful memories of two incredibly happy years spent in Sydney.
    Enjoy the remainder of your weekend, which I suppose does not apply to you as it will be over soon for you and Monday will beckon
    Fondly Helenxx

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello The Old Geezer - Ron
    What a beautiful place to be born and live. I love California and my first footstep in the USA was in beautiful San Francisco. Thanks for your comments, I truly appreciate them.
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good Evening Terri at La Dolphina

    How kind of you to stop by and visit when I know you are very busy presently.

    I truly and sincerely enjoy your blog. It is always interesting and enlightening.

    Wishing you a very happy Independence Day
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hello Elisa,
    Thank you for your compliment on my painting. I have not been to Croatia and it is on my list (I've been so near in Venice so often). I just know I will love it.
    I can totally relate to the customers asking about your lineage. It is so funny that people and perhaps all of us entertain perceptions of each other. It is when people are so convinced and sometimes appear disappointed that they have mis guessed that is funny!
    Cheers!
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  18. Irina said...

    What a great post! Just came across your blog and fell in love with it immediately! You have amazing sense of style!!!
    Check out my blog and follow if you like it, I will do the same in return!
    www.fullclosetbutnothingtowear.blogspot.com
    Hope to see you soon!

    Hello Irena I welcome you as a follower. Thank you kindly for complimenting my stylish sense. That means so much coming from you, as I return the compliment twofold.

    I am very much looking forward to perusing you posts.
    Fondly
    Helen xxx

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hello Abby
    Lovely to hear from you and I hope you have settled back to normal life, following your little sojourn with Royalty. How interesting that your father sailed. Sorry to hear you lost them before age 12, that is young Abby. It appears like you have fond and rich memories of them.
    I believe finding a family history in the USA would be a difficult one.
    Wishing you a great week and pats to Spotty Pony.
    Hugs
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello Deb @ Dumbwit Tellher

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and commenting. What interesting lineage you have. I was actually born in Galway Ireland (Kinvara) and still have family living there and return frequently and will be there shortly.

    You are right Deb, some people's strength and knowledge is not geography, which makes for fun stories. How interesting your husband is Scottish. It, too, is a beautiful country and I learned something from you, I did not know that the Scottish population were Irish originally.
    So glad to hear you enjoy the Chieftains, they are brilliant musicians.

    Incidentally, I love your blog name - is it a derivative of Bonwit Teller (my American Aunt used visit Ireland when we were children and when we asked where she got her beautiful suits, she would say Bonwit Teller, the words sounded so beautiful and rich to our childish ears)
    Enjoy the remainder of your weekend Deb and
    Slainte agus Beannacht
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hello Maddalena

    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    I will look forward to reading your blog Maddalena and look forward to a return visit
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hello Fading Grace
    I am so happy that someone has said "I am Me" that is great Grace and please disregard your husband's comment!
    I am very much enjoying reading about your life and love your blog.
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  23. Delete
    Blogger Prairie Rose said...

    Haha! your story cracked me up!
    Sometimes the truth is the most unbelievable for some folks.
    I have German,Irish and Italian descent.
    My parents were born in raised in Minnesota and Illinois.
    I was born in Colorado and now we all live in Idaho.
    So, there!
    If thats not American,I dont know what is;)
    Beautiful painting!
    Have a great weekend!!!

    Hello Prairie Rose
    So lovely to hear from you and glad you enjoyed a real life story. I so agree with you about the truth being the most unbelievable and how people have pre-conceived thoughts on nationalities. What was also funny is that Gillian, Jamiacan (caucasian) speaks with a strong Jamiacan accent and Jen has a British accent, schooled in India but also speaks Hindi and Urdu.
    Yes, I think we can safely say you are American now that you've disclosed your lineage.

    Thanks so much for visiting and I will be enjoying your blog till next we chat
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  24. Helen, I love your paintings. They are very "solar" as orange and turquoise seem to be so predominant.Thank you for showing us more of your fantastic work.

    Your paintings are not "shy", they shout:"Look at me, look at me!" And, though there is a strong impressionist influence, they say a lot about you... and that is how it should be. You are you and what YOU do is very good!

    Now... all I am going to say about myself is that I am Italian, born and bred in Italy. To me, this is very important, as despite our genes, who we are is also determined by experience and by our "History" and the "Story" we make every day.

    Where am I from? I am from my mother's womb and I also had a father, therefore, I am also a combination of genes. I am in a way a vehicle for my DNA. I will die... my DNA will live and propagate.

    In the meantime, I love my Earthly experience and try to enjoy what is good for me, and beautiful and I try to love, though at times I forget how to do that.

    I do things I do, because I was taught to do certain things by my life's teachers (first of all, my parents) and because my genes sometimes dictate my behaviour.

    Why do I love beautiful things? Why do I love love? Because if I didn't, life would be empty and shallow. Beauty with all its "goods" and "accessories" makes the experience more bearable, helps me forget that one day I will suffer and die, just like my mother is doing right now.

    But one thing I know, like I said to my sister when she told me;" She's already gone!" is that... our mother has not gone... she will never be "gone" as I feel her here, inside me. I have learnt so much from her and so much I'm trying to teach. I have my mother's smile and a daughter who is the exact copy of myself. How scary is that? Life, somehow, does go on. We, as individual stop and get off the "train" life doesn't...

    Where we come from, physically, should be quite irrelevant. Where we are going nobody knows for sure, as even Faith could be an illusion. Maybe we are going nowhere.

    From where I stand the only thing I know for sure is that the only part of me which will perpetuate itself is my DNA. Sad, but true...

    I am Anna, I was born in Bari, Italy" and I am alive. I also know that I try to be rational, but I am quite the opposite!

    PS: I love the Chieftains, especially "Women of Ireland." They are fantastic! I love Folk Music, all of it, wherever it comes from!

    THANKS

    ANNA

    ReplyDelete
  25. you are so talented! just watched your youtube video, very impressed!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi Helen
    thanks so much for following my blog, and for your very generous comments.

    I have to confess that I've just found the button on my camera where you keep your finger pressed and it takes an image per second- the only slight downside was that by the time Bruce had finished rolling I'd accumulated 153 pics, and then spent a while editing to get the best shots!

    Hope to "meet" again
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  27. Helen, I just watched the video of you talking about yourself and about your life in Ireland, in the white cottage by the Ocean. I had not seen it before... I just want to say that you come across as a very special lady, sweet and beautiful in many ways. Lovely!

    ANNA

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hello Anna
    I love all your answers and thoughts.
    Thank you for reviewing my paintings and your observations are very interesting.
    You are very fortunate Anna to have been born and raised in Bari, Italy. It is a beautiful place and so rich in culture. Now I know why you are such an expert cook, with all that fresh produce and seafood.
    I would love your mother, she has such marvelous qualities and loving daughters. I smiled at the visual of your daughter being a little mini Anna!
    Anna again I truly appreciate your visiting and taking time to comment and wishing you a week full of wonder, joy and blessings
    Ciao Bella
    Helen xxx

    ReplyDelete
  29. Hello Irina

    Thank you for visiting my blog and your comments are so welcome. The You Tube video was made by one of the Canadian TV chanels,Fidelity Hi Definition TV, they are similar to Public Broadcasting Service (apparently it is still being aired, as a filler, prior to longer documentaries). The crew who filmed, which was just one camera man and one director were truly talented, they had just returned from Antartica where they have been filming.
    Thanks again for your kind comments
    Helen Tilston
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  30. Ted and Bunny

    Thank you for visiting.

    Loved your video of Bruce and look forward to having you visit again soon.
    Have a wonderful week
    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  31. Anna, hello again

    Thank you for your kind and generous comments on my video at the top of my blog. It was a surprise when the TV station called and asked to film me (I thought it was a friend making a prank call! oh I have those kind of freinds)I was nervous, and it is also hard working the left brain and right brain simultaneously. They were so professional and you will notice the interviewer's voice is not on video, which means I had to indicate the question with each of my responses. It was so much fun once I got over being nervous. It was filmed on the street and many of the street characters would stop by and interupt the camera man who was most patient. One poor chap yelled out as we were wrapping up "Who is she, is she famous", the camera man stopped rolling the film and said "yes, let me introudce you to her" and I even signed an autograph. Ha Ha..
    My best
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  32. I just love that first story Helen....too cute for words....I find where I'm from not so hard but, 'where do I live'...now thats a tough one! xv

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hello Helen, thank you for stopping by my blog!
    Hope you're having a great 4th of July!

    ReplyDelete
  34. What a fabulous post , engaging and concise, I stumbled upon your blog by chance but am now following ( Love your art !) xx Ava

    ReplyDelete
  35. Your paintings are beautiful! The colours are so fresh and vibrant.

    I laughed over your story about the Texan. I get similar looks of disbelief when asked the question "where are you from?" and I tell them Australia!

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hello Vicki Archer

    I love your line

    "I find where I'm from not so hard but, 'where do I live'...now thats a tough one! "

    We all love knowing where you live and it makes us wait with bated breath each week for a new posting on your exciting and interesting life.

    Thanks for your kind comments
    Helenxx

    ReplyDelete
  37. Hello Michaela
    Thanks for your kind wish and a very Happy July 4th to and yours
    Helen x

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hello Ava
    So delighted to hear from you and thank you for your beautiful comments and I welcome you following me.
    I am going to pop over and visit you shortly and look forward to knowing you
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hello Louise
    Thank you for your kindness and encouragement.

    It is funny Louise how some people want to put us in a box or package and are uncomfortable when we are outside the box so to speak! Australia is a beautiful country- do you return often?
    Have a great week
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  40. What a fun post...and interesting! I've even read the comments! I love your beautiful art and I realize what a diverse bunch we are! Who am I? Someone who loves life and lives it to the fullest! I was born in Arkansas and lived many years in Texas as an adult, so I have a serious southern drawl. That brings a lot of different reactions from people I meet in my travels. Most of them are nice....the others I try to make light of...and keep talking! lol! ♥

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hello Lavender Dreamer

    Thank you for stopping by and for commenting.

    Now Arkansas and Texas are known for producing presidential qualities in their people. The drawl is an added bonus and I find it very flattering, so do not ever lose it.

    I absolutely love comments on a blog and I always read them on others blogs too as they can complete the story and give more clues on the blogger. There are such marvelous minds who can really put pen to paper and when there is wit too, it is simply heavenly.

    Thanks for your approval of my art, I truly appreciate it.

    Helen

    ReplyDelete
  42. I came back to read your comment, Helen and I will set your mind at ease! I could not lose my southern drawl if my life depended on it! I might try to talk a little faster...but that's probably not going to happen either! lol I love this post! ♥

    ReplyDelete
  43. Helen, you're from Galway; I never realised! So am I, but round the coast from Kinvara. I lived away from home for years, but missed the familiar stony landscape and the sea, so moved back to Ireland again. I hope you get to visit your family there often.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Helen, thanks for regularly leaving a comment on my blog. I love reading your thoughtful comments and it always brightens up my day!

    I was born and raised in Malaysia. So, that makes me a Malaysian. (of Chinese descent) I have been told that I look like a Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese. I have been calling United States my home since coming here to pursue my degree almost ten years ago. :)

    Love your artwork, they are so beautiful and you are so talented.
    By the way, I love your story of the Texan guy, he was unbelievable!

    Hope you have a wonderful week, Helen.

    Jessie
    www.mixandchic.com

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hello Again to Lavender Dreamer
    Nice to have you back and delighted to hear you are going to remain true to your character and not going to become a fast talking Lavender Dreamer
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  46. Helen, you're from Galway; I never realised! So am I, but round the coast from Kinvara. I lived away from home for years, but missed the familiar stony landscape and the sea, so moved back to Ireland again. I hope you get to visit your family there often.

    Hello Mise
    So my cover is blown! I take it you are north of Kinvara. My family are scattered around Ireland but I will be over in September and will be going to Morans of the Weir and in Galway and Athenry for a couple of days. Maybe we can have a coffee?
    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  47. Hello Jessie
    Lovely to hear from you. What an interesting background you have and now in the USA. I cannot imagine what that Texan would have said had he met you!!! Ha Ha. It is curious how people judge and decide where they think we are from. Wishing you much success in your eduction.
    I very much enjoy your blog and shall look forward to returning.
    Helenxx

    ReplyDelete
  48. A generation or two back....Ireland for me and very proud of it! Now with a Portuguese surname...very confusing but I am told the twinkle in the eye says it all. :)

    Great post Helen...your work, as always, just beautiful!

    Jeanne xxx

    ReplyDelete
  49. Oh my goodness Helen, the song was beautiful...got me teary at the end!
    I would love to dive right into your 'Day of Rest' painting right now...may I? It's so lovely and as it's raining here in Seattle *again* today, it would be heavenly to be exactly there!
    I'm physically from California (I'd love to show the Hattatt's around Disneyland as I went there often as a child - before it was all commercialized - I loved it and have very fond memories) but ancestorally, I'm German & French (which may mean a bit Celtic?) on my mom's side...and a mixed bag of mediterranean on my dad's...which all makes me a mixed bag!
    The Texan cracked me up...I wonder where HE was from of long ago...sounds like he needed to get out a bit more and see the world!
    Fun post...
    xo J~

    ReplyDelete
  50. A generation or two back....Ireland for me and very proud of it! Now with a Portuguese surname...very confusing but I am told the twinkle in the eye says it all. :)


    Hello Jeanne, Lovely to hear from you and thank you sincerely for your compliment on my work.
    Your twinkle in the eye and your charming blogs are such a joy. How interesting you have a Portugese name, that would have sent the Texan wild and God knows what he would have said to you.

    Hugs
    Helenxxx

    ReplyDelete
  51. Hello 24 Corners

    Yes Molly Ban is a sad song - it is curious as Irish people would never shoot a swan. In Irish mythology the swan is significant and appears in many stories and tales.

    California is a beautiful state, I have been to Universal Studios there but not Disney, stayed on the Queen Mary on business, Howard Hughes Museum. Fun.

    You are welcome to sit on one of the nicest beaches in the world, Indian Rocks Beach Florida (where my date of rest was painted). It is one of the best kept secrets in the USA, the sand is white pearl and dolphins are a common sight.

    German and French and the Med. backgrounds provide for an interesting balance, the creative side and the logical side - all are needed.

    Thanks again for reading my blog and commenting. I means very much to me.
    Helen xxx

    ReplyDelete
  52. Hi there! I am LindyLouMac a Brit living in Italy. I have called by to visit and say thankyou for becoming the latest follower of my blog, 'News From Italy'. I hope you will enjoy sharing our little piece of Italy.

    ReplyDelete
  53. By the way I forgot to mention I do not subscribe to comments, for the sake of my inbox, so am unlikely to see any responses you leave here. :)

    ReplyDelete
  54. ¡Me encantan estas pinturas! he descubierto su blog y deseo seguirlo.
    Si lo desea, te invito a visitar mi blog y recivir su opinion sobre el, seria para mi muy importante. Saludos. Manoli.

    ReplyDelete