A Daughter’s Remembrances
European streetscapes were among Jean Stoddard’s favorite scenes to paint
Artist Jean Stoddard spent most of her adult life as a diplomat’s wife, raising her four children in far-flung places—Thailand, Laos, Panama, Italy and Washington, D.C., among them. Although her domicile changed over the years, her brushes and easel remained her one constant.
Stoddard’s whimsical paintings “were the way she remembered the places she went,” explains the late artist’s daughter, KiKi Cook of Stamford. Florence’s streetscapes, Asian monks scurrying off to prayer, the beach near her eventual retirement home in Madison, were all inspiration for her canvas.
Now, thanks to her daughter’s inspired idea, Stoddard’s art—featured during her lifetime in several international exhibitions— has become another poignant form of remembrance. Cook has taken some of her mother’s worldly paintings and turned them into blank note cards, first produced as gifts for family and friends after her mother’s 2006 death. Inspired by the enthusiastic reception her gesture received, she decided to share them with a larger audience and today sells them at jeanstoddard.com.
Her online cottage industry is small, but popular with those who still value putting pen to paper to express their sentiments. “I think one reason I like cards is that I’m still a big fan of handwritten thank-you notes, a bit of a lost art,” says Cook. “I could have done mugs or greeting cards, but I like the idea that people can use them to say something more personal.”