Professor J's Place

11 November, 2007

Missing Mom Today. Also, Creativity

This morning I was listening to an interview with Joni Mitchell on the Tavis Smiley show. Joni was talking about creativity, sensitivity, and her unusual aura, when I got an overwhelming urge to find one of my mother's prints, frame it, and put it above my desk so I could see it everyday while I'm working.

This is a print she made in 1989--It is a self portrait. I first found this print this summer (three years after her death), when I was getting ready to move. There was a large container underneath her bed with dozens of prints and drawings I had never seen. I was blown away by this image. Mamma loved birds. We often had finches in our home (I still have our last two), and she fed wild birds as well. When I found this box of prints, I was amazed by the number of bird allusions in her work. Painting herself with feathers is particularly telling, I think. Here's one just for fun:

Later, when I got to the garage, I found some of her plates for printing. This piece of paper was wrapped around a blank plate.

My first reaction to this was pure joy--just seeing her handwriting is comforting for me. But I am also moved by her affirmation--by the idea that Mom saw herself as an artist. She was always self-depreciating, and that got in the way of her progress sometimes.

Painting is not something you learn. It is something you do.

I am as much an artist now as I ever will be. Good or bad is not the point--I am not a student who will study & grow up & become an artist someday. I'm an artist now--whatever--

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Blogger Mrs. G. said...

What an amazing post. Your mom sounds like such a cool woman. The picture immediately took me to "hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul."

Have I not mentioned that Joni Mitchell is my personal goddess? I LOVE HER. Little Green is perhaps my favorite song of all time.

November 11, 2007 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

Don't you think you could replace the word "painting" with "writing"? I think you should find someone who does calligraphy and have them make up a print with that quote for you to frame and hang on your wall.
Beautiful - thanks for sharing them.

November 12, 2007 at 6:28 AM  
Blogger Professor J said...

Mrs. G. "And sings the songs without the words, and never stops at all." I never told you, but I studied Emily Dickinson in grad school. AND Joni Mitchell is my personal goddess, too. See how much we have in common?

Mrs. T, I ABSOLUTELY think you could replace the word "painting" with the word "writing." In fact, having a partner who is an artist and talking to her about her art has convinced me that the process of composition is much the same thing, no matter what your art.

November 12, 2007 at 7:24 AM  
Blogger gini lester said...

Your mother's spirit always flew. I loved being within her energy.

November 12, 2007 at 8:47 AM  
Anonymous pawpads said...

Fantastic post. Your mum sounds like she was an amazing woman.

November 12, 2007 at 9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That print is amazing! What a nice gift to find that little box of treasures!

November 12, 2007 at 7:00 PM  
Blogger Jennifer (Jen on the Edge) said...

What talent. I'm in awe of her work.

Oh, and totally random, but I like the warm color of the walls in your office. Sort of a honey or a caramel.

November 12, 2007 at 8:42 PM  
Blogger Tui said...

Your mom sounds fascinating. I love the self portrait with feathers and her inspirational affirmation! An unintended gift to you and to others... :)

November 13, 2007 at 8:30 AM  
Blogger Zenmomma said...

Beautiful words. Beautiful art. Beautiful spirit. Thanks for sharing your mom with us.

BTW, my maiden name was Jensen!

November 13, 2007 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger JCK said...

Your mom was an amazing artist. Her self-portrait is so unique and I have to confess a LOVE of the owl dancing with the pussycat. Would make a great painting in a children' room!

November 19, 2007 at 10:58 PM  

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