reluctant sainthood

Painting can be hard work sometimes.  I have done this small portrait in watercolor and I cannot leave it alone.  I keep working into it, loosing what ever freshness it had, but  I so want to develop this into something more.  It isn’t often I get an idea for a painting and I really would like to have it come to fruition.  I envision it full of imagery, detail and gold leaf.  I wanted to get this study  right but I think I will have to do another study for further improvement.  I still see so much wrong with this one but it has been manipulated enough.

This woman is my grandmother holding her fifth child who died in infancy.  I think the picture was taken with her knowledge that her baby was not healthy.  The story is so sad, I cried twice while painting this 7″x10″ watercolor.  I have turned them into a madonna and child complete with an icon halo that so often appears upon those we love who have died.  Most of these adored (at least in my family, I am sure), would not want to be on a pedestal, but there they sit in perceived perfection through my lifetime and, if I have done my story-telling well, maybe through my children’s.  ( I should think some of it got through to them!) I really didn’t know this grandmother well, (she was in her 70’s when I was born) and I have to wonder if she would be flattered or think it was foolishness that I use her image so often and freely.  I rather believe she would think I should be better off cleaning my house!


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5 Responses to “reluctant sainthood”

  1. Julia Evatt Says:

    I think your grandmother would be immensely pleased, whatever she might have to say!

  2. Brenda E Holmes Says:

    I think she’d be thrilled too and very proud of you. I don’t tell you enough how much I love you and enjoy your incredible talent but I do!

  3. Mary Says:

    Portraying the Madonna and Child in a more “modern” setting is brilliant. It helps to remind us of just how wonderful these women were even in the face of regularly losing their children. It also serves to remind us that Mary was, in fact, just a mother with a child like the rest of us. I know that we can be our own worst critics, so to let you know, I think the picture is lovely and lovingly rendered. Mary

  4. jademond Says:

    this is so touching. can’t stop looking at it. i am pregnant myself and there’s so much going on in my head looking at the picture. it’s beautyful.

  5. Donna Says:

    Touching…yes! Very much so, but as a genealogist, I can imagine my hard working ancestor thinking, I too, could use my time more wisely. My children call my genealogy quest, “looking up dead people.” But, it is a passion, just as your art, with this long gone grandmother and child. It is the idea that they never be forgotten or unaccounted for…their life’s had meaning.

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