My mother’s memorial service is to be held Saturday, April 29, at high noon. Saddle up. Not sure if I am expected to give a small remembrance speech, but if so, here goes! I am sharing it with everyone!
In December of 2014 – for lack of anything better I could find her — I bought my mother, Marie, an abstract painting for Christmas. To the casual observer, it looked like three people had a massive paintball battle on a blank piece of canvas. During a snow squall.
To others it may have reminded them of what happens when a striped zebra mates with purple platypus and this resembles what they gave birth to during an encounter in a disco lounge. Or was that a polka parlor?
However, the bright multicolors and many dimensional shapes and angles strewn about on this hand painting had to be a one of one and it was signed by a local artist aspiring to be the next Picasso. He had vision he wanted to share.
When presented to Marie, her eyes probed and picked it like a lost traveler holding a ripped road map. Couldn't tell heads from tails. Didn't know what to make of it. Lost.
She also didn't know what to SAY about it. It was that nonconceptual. But, on some days, I would catch her looking at the painting. No, studying the painting was more like it, and when you decide to study — that's when you discover.
Looking back, the painting was symbolic of myself during her lifetime. Hard to read, tough to figure, nonconformist. But, like anything in life worthwhile, if you took the time to peel back the complex, multilayers you were rewarded with a piece de resistance.
Let's face it, show 100 different people a nontraditional work of art and you'll get 100 varied opinions of whether it is good or bad and what it represents. I'm afraid the same holds true with human beings and how we present ourselves to society. Remember, we are ALWAYS on display!
So, where am I going with this? First, with many parents out there, I suggest you do as my mother did during her 80 years on planet earth — don't panic if your prized child, the painting, doesn't lend itself to showing true color until a few miles down the road. Good art grows on you. Unless your kid tortures the family pet, sets things on fire, or fantasizes about taking hostages, hold off on any therapy sessions.
In fact, many hidden motifs may decide to pop out and flourish as time moves on. A motif is defined as a distinctive feature or dominant idea in an artistic or literary composition. It can be a recurring theme or idea or symbol. Lord knows, I've had quite a few!
When I was younger and my parents took me to visit museums, the abstract, the unusual artwork drew my attention much more than the conventional pieces did. To my eyes, conventional was just that — normal, standard, regular, ordinary, typical, common. In other words…BLAH!
On the other hand, MY hand, abstract meant conceptual, theoretical, intellectual, ideal, academic, philosophical, unreal, nonconcrete.
Looking at artwork done with a twist, made me realize I was ready to run away from the run of the mill! I thank my mother for giving me the opportunity to view different works at different times at different places. It opened up my eyes to what was out there!
Before you leave here today, I want you to think of not only your children, but everyone else you encounter as a work of art. Accept the conventional as you would your home microwave oven, but embrace the odd and unknown as a four sided tire.
As a society, we've been put on cruise control. Give the stamp of approval to all normalcy. And, shun the unusual because we can't ‘figure it out’. Don't scratch the surface…go deep!
For if my mother wasn't open to oddball artwork or ideas, or to my hobbies and habits, who knows what could have happened? The art ends up in the trash heap, and I would have been subjected to a cold relationship to the woman who gave birth to me because I wasn't cranked out like a Christmas cookie.
So let's sum up this happy gathering in one paragraph.
Sometimes what doesn't make any sense at first glance can make perfect sense over the course of time.