It has taken me this lifetime to realize all that my mother gave me. Love, support, guidance, comfort. Encouragement to spread my wings, even when I didn’t feel ready. A place to leave, a place to come back to. And something more.
My mother was a very important part of my development as an artist.
Art covered our walls, artists and art lovers were among the people we knew. There were art books for looking at, art shows and exhibitions to visit. There was thoughtful commentary, and support for rising artists. My mother loved beauty, but she also loved work that made her think, awoke questions in her. Work that was not always comfortable to look at. She gave me a foundation for my own work, though I did not realize it at the time.
Later, after she saw some of my pictures (I was living far away), she encouraged me to keep working and learning, and hung one of my pastels in pride of place on the dining room wall. And she shared others’ appreciation of it with me. Encouragement which gave me courage to keep going forward.
Now, as I think about her, I am grateful for all this and so much more.
I am grateful that she encouraged me to explore, to stretch my wings even when I was afraid. That she taught me to be self-critical without being self destructive.
I am grateful that she shared more and more of herself as I grew older – including, to my initial surprise, a bawdy and irreverent sense of humour.
I am grateful that she taught me to look closely at the world around me, with an observant eye, an enquiring mind and an open heart.
I am grateful that she showed me that the world was full of many different people, good and evil, poor and rich, and that worth is a matter of character not circumstance. I am grateful that she let me see that talent achieves nothing without hard work, and that no-one succeeds by themselves.
Thank you, mother mine.