Our thirty sixth interview in this new series of mobile photography & art intimate interviews enables Lydia Cassatt from Brooksville, Maine, United States to genuinely and handsomely construct this captivating narrative, all the time giving the reader more, with her beautifully rendered imagery. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, Lisa Mitchell, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Whalberg, Andrea Bigiarni, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios, Linda Toki, Deb Fiel, Emilo Nadales and myself, go here.
All images ©Lydia Cassatt
What was your childhood or earliest ambition?
I always wanted to be an artist. My father told me that I was drawing and painting at four years old. When I was ten, I found a matchbook from the “Famous Artists School.” I copied the drawing and sent it off to the school, unbeknownst to my parents. Later, someone called from the school and came to visit. My parents wisely decided that I wasn’t going to be educated through this company and I was able to take art lessons every summer after that.
I was recognized for my artistic ability in the 8th grade and allowed to study with older, high school students.
My mother was a great believer in giving back to the communities that we lived in and at eleven years old, I became a volunteer at a local hospital for two summers. I helped aides serve meals to people in the hospital on Sunday evenings.
Private or State School?
I was educated at private girls schools.
University or Work?
I went to Moore College os Art and Design in Philadelphia and graduated with a BFA in painting.
Who was or still is your mentor?
I was fortunate to have wonderful painting and drawing teachers in art school. After college I worked with an interior designer, painting murals, I painted houses, worked with a caterer, whatever I could do…Unfortunately, a BFA does not necessarily help one to provide for oneself. I have no regrets though. It was a wonderful education.
How physically fit are you?
I have always been a walker and a hiker. I practice Iyengar Yoga three to five days a week and walk every day. I tend to travel to places where there is a lot of walking.
Ambition or Talent? What matters more to success?
Talent is very important but ambition keeps one motivated.
How politically committed are you?
I am extremely politically committed. The result of our presidential election in 2016 was devastating. I had been coasting when Barack Obama was our president and that all ended with the current occupant in the White House. I have marched, I call and write Senators and Representatives and donate to progressive causes. I will be volunteering with Planned Parenthood in some capacity. I am extremely liberal and will work hard for a change of regime in the 2020 elections.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
I don’t want to possess anything.
What is your biggest extravagance?
My biggest extravagance is travel. I am extremely fortunate to have a husband who loves travel as much as I do.
What places are you the happiest?
I adore Scotland and Hawaii. Both places make my heart sing. I also love the extreme north. I love Alaska, Greenland and Iceland and would love to go back to those places.
What ambitions do you still have?
I would like to have more shows of my photography.
What drives you on?
I think that inspiration drives me on. I have been on a wonderful journey of photographing peonies since April. I started with a bouquet that I bought in Edinburgh and I just keep going. Peonies are in bloom in Maine right now and I am begging every friend that has them to let me photograph them!
What is the greatest achievement of your life so far?
My husband and I sailed the north and South Pacific for six years from 1990-1995. We sold everything and took off. It was a great journey and I never dreamed that I would be able to do something like that. We traveled from Alaska to New Zealand. It seems like a dream now and we still keep traveling.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Negativity. It doesn’t solve anything and we need positivity more than ever in these challenging times.
If your 20-year old self could see you now, what would he think?
I think she would be amazed. I wasn’t self confident and I was shy. I am a different woman at 64!!
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Climate Change. Without a healthy earth, how will we survive?
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
I still grieve for all the dogs that have been in my life. I have had dogs since a I was a baby and they have been the greatest source of joy, companionship and solace. We just lost our little Jack Russell, Mitzi, very recently. It’s always hard losing our beloved pets.
Do you believe in an afterlife?
When my most recent dog died, I pictured her being with her greatest friend, our Airedale who died last March. It was consoling to me. I have studied Buddhism and I do feel that there is the possibility that we keep going in some way. It’s the great mystery.
If you had to rate your satisfaction with your life so far, out of 10, what would you score?
I am deeply fortunate in my life, even with all the hard times. I have good health and hope that continues as long as possible. I have so much gratitude. 10.
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