"Mom" (a study in watercolor) - 12" x 16"
Last week marked the one year anniversary of my mom's lost battle with metastatic breast cancer. I wanted to mark the day with something special, and set out to paint this watercolor portrait based on a photograph of her taken when I was about 18 months old.
The photo depicts something we didn't see much in our house - my mom with a big smile on her face. She was a beautiful woman, always meticulously dressed, but had her own way of approaching the world which did not include many smiles. As I spent time with the photograph, I felt such light and ease radiating from my mom that it was quite cathartic for me. It reminded me of the hidden gems inside every person, sometimes captured on film.
Our children will grow up with something we did not have - oodles and oodles of photos. Finding a good photo of my mother was like treasure hunting without a map. She didn't like being photographed, and there weren't instant or digital cameras when she was younger. Most of our photos are of times she would rather we forgot - the last years of her life during her battle with cancer. I felt her approval as I chose this radiant picture of a youthful mom in her pink dress with pearls.
In the plethora of selfies and digital pics, I wonder what our children will find as their favorite photos of us one day. I can think of many I wish would permanently delete themselves! But then again, they may find something in the photograph that I would not have, and may cherish it as I do this particular one of my mom.
I'd like to think I will make this a tradition each year going forward. Or at least for as many years as there are happy pictures of my mom. She may not be here physically any longer, but I am pretty sure she would make her presence known if I dared paint one to those photos she disapproved of.