art life/life as art

I’ve been looking through my mom’s blog, and found this photo of us from her last exhibit at Images Cinema in November 2012:

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This show was called “Still Lifes and Figures in the Still Life.” The painting to the left of me in the photo, the chairs and lamp with the lemon tablecloth, is hanging in my apartment now and is one of my favorites. She looks so good here, so healthy. This was during a good period before she started a new and very strong chemo treatment in December which made her very sick. It’s hard to look at this image and believe that she died only five and a half months later.

I think we look alike here, with our smiles and teeth and eyes. My mom was my best art friend. I’m getting ready to hang a show on that same wall in April– my first exhibition as a full-time artist. I’ve hung several shows since she died, and it’s so strange without her input and perfect eye for hanging things straight without the aid of a level. My dad helps me, and brings Mama’s hanging box– the toolbox with all the nails and hangers and other stuff, with her name written in thick sharpie on the outside. She labeled everything with her name.

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This photo is from July 2011. Mama painted at Cathy Link’s house that whole summer and sometimes I went with her and modeled in the landscape. The finished painting of this scene is hanging in my baby’s room.

Just thinking about my mom and art. Our art together, the way we talked about it and supported each other in this Art Life. How much I wish she was in my autobio comics workshop. How much I just wish she was HERE. Physically. Alive. Making art. Making life.

It’s almost three years since she died. April 18, 2013. On April 18 this year I will be 19 days from my baby’s due date.

This spring there will be new life. A piece of my mom will come back with this baby: maybe he will have her ears, or her hands, or just something undefinable that he got from her and brings back into the world in that beautiful way genetics have of keeping things going, or a secret she whispered to him in the womb.

mama and me, just born

This is my mom and me, right after I was born. I love this image. It will be me soon, holding baby Smokey, a happy new mom just like her.

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2 thoughts on “art life/life as art

  1. Anna, I just started to sob after reading this and looking at the photos. But not purely because “this is sad.” No, because reading your comics and stories over the last several months has clearly demonstrated the beauty of life and the exciting, and sometimes overwhelming, swirl of emotions and memories that reside inside of each one of us. I think about genetics and generatiobns a lot. I think that there is memory embedded in our DNA. “Memes” that have been passed down through the generations. I think that you will see your Mama in Baby Smokey. And when Baby grows up into the kind, compassionate, and empathetic man that he undoubtedly will become, and maybe continues this ancient genetic dance with his chosen partner, he will see his Mama and his GrandMama in the next generation. It’s beautiful and wonderful! I’ve been enjoying your work very much! Your comics are so desceptively simple yet pack an emotional punch!

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