Saturday, May 12, 2012

When It's Time to Shut Up

I've taken my title from tomorrow's sermon at Westminster Presbyterian Church. You'll recognize fan palms.  The shade trees are camphor trees.  

Asked how painting went today, I responded that it was a little bland. Nobody else came to paint, even though I'd picked this spot specifically for somebody who wanted to come back here. Left on my own, I'd probably have stalked matilija poppies in the Arroyo. It was pleasant out; nothing noteworthy happened while I was painting, and I think the painting is a bit bland as well. But not bad, just as a peaceful morning isn't bad. Drama and passion can be exhausting. We all need a break sometimes.

I thought I'd mention Mother's Day, and wish you a happy Mother's Day if you are a mother, and/or you observe the day. It's kind of a made-up holiday - it doesn't have any roots in religion or mythology or cosmology - it's just a nice sentimental gesture with cards and flowers. Mother's Day took on a bit more significance for me when I became a mother. And more significance again when my mother died. I miss my mother. She wasn't like my friends' mothers. She smoked and drank and swore; she was from New York; she was single and a career woman well into her thirties. She was also a convent-educated guilt-ridden Catholic. She was dazzlingly smart, but superstitious and very quick to worry. Never quite satisfied, rarely, I'm sorry, truly joyful. But she made me feel loved. She told me of how she held me when I was born and told me secrets. When I was desperately awkward and gawky, she promised I'd be beautiful. She pushed me. She made me honest and responsible. She gave me a home that always felt like home. The meals. The books. The art. The nerve to be different.


  1. Hi, Barbara,
    Your paintings have your colours. The post is very interesting from a daughter's honest point of view that we can share. Thank you for the precious story.
    Kind regards, Sadami

  2. Barbara,

    You have a lovely touch with your watercolors. I just saw you 'liked' a post of mine on the Facebook=Pasadena page, looked you up and Lo! you're a watercolor painter as well! Your Pasadena pieces are esp. fun to see for another kid from there. Thanks!
    Jill Rosoff

  3. I like this painting for it's simplicity. Flat contained fields of color. Muted with only a tiny bit of red (brick) for the curb. nice work.

    I also like your description of your mother. My mother's still alive. A real pistol that one.

    I always thought I'd be a mother. I wanted too but things don't always go the way you think they will. I have a cat though. You probably saw her on my blog. She wakes up at 1 am hungry and her cry sounds a lot like a babies. It's enough