Thursday, December 09, 2010

Motherhood, 16x20, oil on linen, by Maryanne Jacobsen

SOLD"Motherhood", 16x20, oil on linen

I had painted this same scene about a year ago, in a much smaller format, (9x12) Without going into a lot of detail about the circumstances, the painting ended up looking very different from my original intentions, thanks to the fact that I doubted my own abilities. So for a long time I had wanted to do another one, this time in a larger format, but the weeks and months just passed me by.

Always daunted by the prospect of attempting figurative work, I procrastinated until yesterday. Ironically, I was right smack in the middle of checking the values of the grisaille when the phone rang. It was my sister , informing me that my mother is not expected to live more than a few more days. It was the memories of my sweet, lovely mother than kept me painting late last night, long after I knew it was time to stop.

I finished the painting today, knowing that time was not on my side in terms of continuing to paint wet into wet.

Perhaps I'll eventually go back and refine it further. I do see some things that I'd like to change. But overall, I know it is a good painting in spite of the haste I exerted in order to complete it. I used David Leffel's palette because I have come to realize that there are times to push color and there are times when you shouldn't push the color. And I just wanted this painting to be soft and peaceful. David Leffel's palette consists of colors that I rarely use, like burnt umber, terra rosa, raw umber and naples yellow. Until I become an expert at flesh tones, these earth tones make it easier for me to do a more natural portraiture than using pure color.

Motherhood is not for the feint of heart. As a child growing up in Philadelphia, I recall that there was never one day in my childhood that I did not come home from school to a clean house, a healthy supper and freshly washed and ironed clothes. I feel very sorry for the children of today, many of whom know neither what it's like to have a home-cooked meal or to have two parents. It is not the fault of the mothers that must go out to work. But, it is where we have come as a society, as a result of circumstances beyond our control , that has brought us to the state where children rarely have the same luxuries that I myself experienced and that is very sad.

A huge thank-you to Sara and Ashley and Ellie. Without all three of you this painting could not have come about. That being said, I am dedicating the painting to you, mom, because I could not have painted it without thinking good thoughts of you throughout. Thank-you, mother, du fond de mon coeur, for all that you did to make me the person that I am today.

I love you.

1 comment:

Karla said...

This is really beautiful! It looks like she is saying a prayer over her child. I liked the softer unfinished version just as much!