She hung a print above my bed of a girl with a very long neck, an oblong face and eyes deep and black. The artist, Modigliani , remains one of my favorites today. Everything in my bedroom matched. She chose tiny yellow flowered wallpaper along with the same printed curtains. A bed, dresser, mirror and chair were antiqued to a sepia sheen with fruits and flowers painted on the drawers. These were copied and became some of my first drawings. That dresser is still now in my bedroom and remains precious to me. She even wallpapered the inside of the drawers.She was always so clean and neat and her appearance was beautiful . This mattered to her, especially her hairstyle. As a child she made bedtime sweet, like a happy ending to a summer story .First a bath and braiding my hair one on each side until I was ten. Always fresh sheets and a little chat about the day as she sat on the edge of my little bed.(this seems like a fairy tale to me now)….and a prayer called Jesus Tender Shepherd Hear Me. I never was left to face the night alone.
Into that dresser mirror when I was 12, I spoke out loud to my image and said, “my mind is telling me something different than what my mom is telling me is important and true!” From that moment I began my own path and kept secret many thoughts about life. But in my bedroom her loving spirit hovered even though I felt so misunderstood.
I used to say , before my mother died, that we weren’t very close, but that is not true. I always felt close to her in my heart. She just wasnt able to have the awareness of who I was……or who she really was either. It frightened her. She was scared of a lot of things, inner truth and water and dogs( even though she let me have one once). And she so disliked dirt and disorder, hippies and rock music. I wish now that I would have spent more time with her. I don’t know enough about her, she never said much about identities . But I do know this, I was tenderly and affectionately loved as a child and now I know that I was always loved this way. She was a member of the symphonic choir , a soprano and often a soloist in the church choir. I love music because of her and I am so grateful! When the symphony orchestra played she would often take me along instead of my dad who didn’t like classical music. But sometimes in the kitchen I would see my parents dancing close together and it would take my breath away.
She was delicate and wounded in ways I did not know, yet she loved. My appreciation of fabrics, textiles and colors are her influence, my art is too. And when she played her piano and I secretly would lay beneath it as a child and young girl, my soul would leap at her expressive heart coming thru her small fingers like a butterfly escaping from its cocoon.Moonlight Sonata is my mother.
My recent creation of a sculptural ” momento mori” ( immortality) series is in honor of her.I began it this past summer and I continue here in Bulgaria. Her memory consumes me and I often cry. I believe that she lives in perfection now. I feel her often beside me walking thru the rolling pastures surrounding this village. One night recently I woke wondering where that sweet singing was coming from….it was her voice coming out of me…a song I remembered only just then as a child’s memory…all 3 verses from my mothers voice let loose from inside of me.
I would like to share this video of Florence + the machine with you mom. I think you will understand now. It’s up above.