Tuesday, March 25, 2008
I've been thinking about mothering all day. Impossible to avoid the topic because my friend Josephine's mother, Maria, died on Easter Sunday, and
the visitation was today. I dropped into the funeral home briefly to pay
my respects. Her four daughters were all there. I thought surely if their mother were alive to see them she'd be proud of them -- these four good daughters, dressed in perfect black suits, looking elegant and sad
in the very tasteful setting. People clearly
loved Maria, who was lying laid out in the casket,
surrounded by an entire florist shop of flowers
in reds and pinks, which must have been her
I never painted Josephine's mother, although I've
painted Josephine and her daughter, Claudia,
numerous times. But I've painted mothers before,
sometimes for very serious reasons -- because the
mother is sick, or because she is not expected to live.
And of course the most important reason is that
people love their mothers.
Some of my favorite paintings are of mothers
and their children. Mary Cassatt comes to mind
as one of the best at this art. But Sargent did some lovely large
canvasses of families and Alistair Adams of the Royal Portrait
Society in England does great family pictures.
In portraits mood is everything. I usually try to capture,
even impose, a sunny mood because that's what I like.
After working on an art magazine and seeing some
"real" and terrifying depictions of life's horrors,
I opted to create beauty. That may seem facile,
but I've found that beauty, outer and inner is one
of the great comforts in this world.
A TV monitor on the wall in the funeral home
showed photographs of Maria at different stages in
her life with her family around her. She was at the center
of so many family parties. Enfin, it looked like a good life.
Here are some pictures of mothers I've painted.
Have a nurturing day.
- Barbara Muir
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
- I paint and draw on commission and for shows. To commission a portrait, or purchase one of my paintings please contact me at: email@example.com
A major highlight in my career? Drawing Oprah Winfrey live via Skype for her show "Where in the Skype are you? Galleries: Studio Vogue Gallery, Toronto, Canada. The Amsterdam Whitney Gallery, New York City. Gallery at the Porch Door, Kingston, Canada. Your positive comments on this blog mean the world to me. I'd love to hear from you!