Today, my mother would’ve been 102 years old. Unfortunately, she was killed in a traffic accident at the age of 44. A gifted painter, she never had the opportunity to demonstrate her skill and her eye properly. In her early life, she won a scholarship to a top art school in London. Unfortunately, her parents were unable to afford the obligatory uniform (a distinctly odd demand from an institute supposedly dedicated to the creative arts!) and she was therefore denied the chance.
She painted when she could, using cheap oils, and hardboard as a canvas. I recall watching her depict a seascape when I was around 6 years old. She was sitting on a kitchen chair, with her sheet of hardboard propped on a makeshift easel, on top of the cliff outside the Pullman railway carriage (still on its wheels) that was then our home. I remember her deft strokes as she formed first the blue of the sky and then began to add the restless sea. I believe my eye for a picture stems from that day, and others, when I watched her at her craft.
Her death, 2 days after my sixteenth birthday, left the family in a rather chaotic situation, particularly as my stepfather had been driving the car. Although not responsible for the accident, he took a long time to recover. As a result of that, and the fact I left home shortly afterwards, I have none of her paintings, and neither do my siblings. So, I keep that memory alive in mind only.
Flowers were one of her favourite subjects. In fact, she once decorated my face with flowers, using an eyebrow pencil. I forgot she’d done this when I went shopping for her and wondered why I was receiving such odd looks!
This picture is dedicated to her today. She’d have loved it. I hope it brings you pleasure, too.
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