Note from the Editor: When Mary shared this poignant story I was deeply touched, it was my Mother also who encouraged my painting and who helped me pay for my Masters degree in Art. I had started my courses while she was still alive but did not complete my degree until a year after she passed away in 1995. It is so often a loved one who pushes us along our pathway, someone who truly wants the best for us, and who wants our light to shine! This beautiful drawing was by Mary's Mom:
A Mother's Gift
Last week I received a box of old papers my family had uncovered in the process of cleaning out my mother’s house. Sadly, she had died in the spring, a terrible loss for all of us. I opened a plastic bag full of musty letters and notebooks, and was surprised to find among them a lovely ink drawing my mom had done many years ago. It was a sketch for illustrations she was doing for a collection of children’s poetry I had written. Nothing ever came of the book, and this one drawing had somehow been hidden away in a drawer. Although only a rough sketch, it struck me: It was so much my mother. More than old photos, her jewelry, or even family stories, it was her.
I’ve always felt that art was at the center of who my mother was. Yes, she was so many other things--a mother to seven, a wife, grandmother, a great-grandmother, a deeply spiritual woman whose generous nature drew many grateful friends to her over the years. But, I knew how passionately she loved painting; I knew the artist in her, the one who had encouraged me to paint and write and play music from my very early childhood.
I don’t think I realized what a gift she had given me until I was an adult. I remember talking about childhood experiences with a friend, and when she asked what I had wanted to be when I grew up I answered without hesitation. An artist. I had always wanted to be an artist. Somehow, with my mother’s help, I had dipped my toes into the hidden stream of art, and had found a life that was bigger than my own, deeper, and more glorious. I never could go very long in my life without refreshing myself in that calm water. What my mother had given me was a glimpse of beauty. Not beauty that ages or changes, or fades or dissolves; but beauty that is an acknowledgment of the connectedness of all life, of something which endures beyond the face of the world.
Whether it is a flower, a shape, a dream or an idea that we contemplate, artists must give themselves away in order to experience the essence of what they seek to capture and make their own. When a work of art is created, it embodies that moment of transcendence and surrenders it to the world. Looking at my mother’s sketch, I know I’m seeing the intersection of a temporal life with eternal beauty. It doesn’t make me miss her less, but it has given me back a moment of her joy that time cannot erase.
Please stop by Mary's Etsy Shop for a look at her beautiful artwork: http://www.etsy.com/shop/maryraeart?ref=pr_shop_more The painting shown is Mary's Yellow Roses original oil painting.