Sunday, January 2, 2011

In Progress - 92 Year Old Suggests Collage

I have my 92 year old mother spending some of the winter months with me. The fact that she was here for Christmas was in itself quite an accomplishment for getting my mother to come ‘south’ for the winter is as about as difficult as extracting wisdom teeth. She just does not want to leave her northern home, the six foot high snowbanks and very minus zero temperatures!

So my children and grandchildren are delighted; it has been wonderful to have her share our holiday season in our homes!  And it is indeed quite an experience. In her home mother still rules with an iron fist….but away from her familiar surroundings she becomes what she is; a 92 year old who is legally blind and navigating with a cane. She will not agree to a white cane because ‘people will think I am blind’. She will not agree to a walker because they are a ‘pain…you know where’! In her home however she knows where everything is and moves like a small tornado. In my home she needs much help and attention. Our day begins with pulverizing her medication and administering in a spoon of jam and special foods … must be a certain brand or the food is quite simply not edible! I wonder if I will be as feisty and stubborn …. My daughter says ‘shades of things to come’!

However, these are not why I mention her here. Although she is legally blind she has a bit of peripheral vision in shades of grey. She knows how unhappy I have been with my latest painting effort and knows I am trying to ‘loosen’ my style. The more I work at 'loosening' this painting the more it is becoming a 'labourious task' and the more distratous it becomes!  This morning mother suggested that perhaps I needed to go collect some ‘thin, flat bits of rock’ and glue to the canvas along the edge of the waterfalls …. ‘maybe that could be a “new” style’ she says; unaware that 'collage' is an art form or style. 

I just think it is quite phenomenal for a lady of her age who has known nothing but hard labour and the cultural offerings of a small Ontario mining town to be so perceptive and to be able to ‘see’ solutions at 92!

Just had to share.

Anyway, I am leaving this attempt at loosening my painting approach and returning to what I do best and hopefully the detail won’t become too boring to view.  I will at some point gather some 'thin, flat,bits of rock' and glue to another smaller canvas so she may "feel" the art.


  1. Ruby, maybe we should listen to our mothers?
    I admit that I seldom go after a style but concentrate on what the painting wants to do. Adding some little, flat stones, and then maybe painting over them would give it an interesting 3rd dimension. It would be interesting to live to 92 and be able to talk about it. My uncle lived to 99 and died while on vacation!

  2. Ruby, I read your post about your mother still sharing her suggestion not only made me smile but made my day.
    Too often we feel that we'll be of little use when we reach that age, but upon reading about your mother it says to me, "Go ahead Barbra, you will still do it"!!

  3. I adore that post. My mother just turned 85 and is in reasonably good health, hard of hearing...she is so stubborn. My sister lives with her and I think my Mother wishes she would leave!!!! Mom said yesterday..they all think I am so hard of hearing they talk over me. I am the little old lady in the chair...but I hear enough..and then she laughed. I wish I were closer..2000 miles is too far...enjoy your elderly relatives..they have much to offer.

  4. Hi there Ruby!... Happy New Year... to all at your home... and especially to your Mom... who is stll... despite her "blindness"... "seeing the Light" and fully partaking of life around her!

    It isn't necessarily what we see in a painting (even our own) that makes it good... or bad Ruby.It's more how it makes us feel. Perhaps like your Mom and "Me"... feeling things replaces the need for perfection... and offers us a small role in enjoying... seeings things you don't and being a part of your creation.

    I love your waterfall... it has motion ... patterns that please my eye... and the more than that... it arouses within "Me"... and my own memories the very sound I so very much enjoy... when I paint in such wonderful places!

    Good Painting!
    Warmest regards,

    PS Ruby. "I" can still "see" my Mom... that will always be so.Wish that "I" could hold her.. and tell "Her" I love her... just one more time!