Jack Frost: Preserving a Mini-Masterpiece!

Although this is not the “appropriate” season, it is finally time that a family treasure, a mini-masterpiece, be properly preserved, displayed, and enjoyed. The item in question is a watercolor done by my father, Alfred Kubitz, as a young man. He created this artwork in or around 1935. He would have been nineteen years of age in 1935.

This original painting on stiff paper stock was handed down to me by my dad. It had knocked-about for a number of years in my dresser drawer until finally being tucked in a folder and stored in a file cabinet for still more years. A few light creases are clearly visible in the piece, the result of years of casual handling and storage.

I had long been aware that the original theme of Jack Frost with his palette at work adorning the leaves with brilliant fall colors came from a famous old depiction by the illustrator, John T. McCutcheon. For decades, the piece was reprinted annually each fall by the Chicago Tribune newspaper. My family and I have Chicago roots, so my father would have been very familiar with McCutcheon’s picture. I myself had never actually seen that original rendition until very recently.


I was very surprised to see that my father’s interpretation of McCutcheon’s theme was quite different from the original artwork, contrary to my long-held supposition. In fact, I was quite blown away by the creative and colorful artistic embellishments my father supplied in his rendering.

It was then that I fully realized what a shame it was that this mini-masterpiece by my father was hidden away for so many decades. With the expert help of our local framer, Jo-Ellen, who always helps us get it “just right,” this little gem now hangs proudly on the wall directly above my bedroom dresser where I can see and enjoy it every single day, morning and night! I love that Dad signed the piece and that he painted it (and other wonderful art) at a time in his young life when he had little leisure time and no money for fancy art supplies. Whatever took me so long to get this properly done?

6 thoughts on “Jack Frost: Preserving a Mini-Masterpiece!

  1. Thank you for continuing to highlight the interests and talents of Dad. He left quite a legacy in large and small ways. It is so wonderful to have these family treasures, sometimes not recognized as such until our later years when we have the time to rediscover them and appreciate them to the fullest. I am grateful you have shared so many of your discoveries with me.

    • I find as the years go by that it is so important not to take ANYTHING for granted. That is especially true for the legacies, tangible and intangible, of the people in our lives, past and present. This little “Jack Frost” picture of Dad’s epitomizes, for me, those re-discoveries and awakenings that come so much more readily with age and experience; that is why I so enjoyed writing this particular post. My fondest wish is to successfully awaken such sensibilities in my grandchildren…at an even earlier age than perhaps you and I first experienced them. Perhaps the cardinal sin/shortcoming in today’s youth-oriented culture is a general lack of awareness and appreciation of things too easily taken for granted. The Pennsylvania Dutch had a phrase for it: “Too soon oldt, and too late schmart!” Thank goodness for the time that’s (hopefully) left us. Thanks, Karen.

  2. That’s beautiful! Your dad was a true renaissance man! What talent in so many areas! Thanks for sharing.

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