Monday, April 25, 2011

Mom Floating in Space, Acrylic on board

   This painting is about how I watched my mom die. It took me years to paint about this event in my life because of how painful it was. I heard my mom scream from her room. I ran and opened the door, and found her lying in her bed with a blood hemorrhage. She was nearly dead but she had a faint pulse for about five minutes and then she died. I have philosophized for years what this moment felt for my mom. There was an ethereal presence to her during those lost moments .I wondered how it felt for her to leave the earth and to go towards heaven. I thought about that suspended moment between leaving. In this picture she is floating like almost being in a suspended space. The blue suggests the sadness of her dying. The chaotic line markings and the portraits of me in the diptych below are about my crazy grieving process.


  1. wow. this painting is full of emotions I see and feel. I'm so sorry for your loss of your mother. I too, have lost my mother and like you feel devastated. I sometimes feel nothing will ever be as hard as losing my mom except if God forbid I lost my child. I wonder when or if that feeling of disbelief ever leaves. I often think about my mom in heaven and I too held her as she passed. Peace came over my mom as she died, where total panic, sadness and unmeasurable grief struck in a matter of like half a second for me.

    As the beginning of Mother's Day weekend, I'm thinking of you. Your artwork is great and deeply touching. Congratulations on your new artblog.


  2. Thank you very much. Mothers Days are always tough. But at least I have good memories.

  3. This is ART! This, on the edge, speaking of unspeakable things, moving through pain barriers, communicating about the incommunicable.

    I relate to all the emotions you speak of, having lost a mother-in-law who died in my arms and a mother who died uneasily while i was far away.

    How can we make it up to the dead? How can we ease the manner of their passing, in retropsect? We can't.

    All we can do is imagine realities that somehow make it all bearable. And just maybe, those imagined realitires may be the truth.

    Your figure floating in the blue may be just how it was ... and how it will for each of us.

  4. Hello Shelley,
    I am so sorry for your lost. You are very brave telling this.
    I hope you show us new paintings.
    A big hug!

  5. Hi Shelley, I found your comment on my blog, then I went to see who were you... Well I didn't expect to find something so deep, sincere and pure. Your paintings and the very story behind them are so touching, that it makes me think that masterpieces come from this 'beautiful insanity' of few human beings who have the ability of sensing what's even beyond our comprehension. Thank you very much and congratulations.

  6. Is the feeling of pain, death and transition fully shaped and well played. Impressed by the detail of the blue eyes behind his glasses.
    Shelley Greetings!

  7. wow! this makes me teary eyed. I've always felt death is much harder for the loved ones left behind. I imagine our deceased off on some new adventure, knowing things that we will know when we die.
    I wonder if when we paint these emotions, do we release them in the painting or do we activate them every time we see the painting?
    I've only managed one or two strong (sad)emotional paintings and I think that every time I see the painting a bit of that emotion eases. The feelings are remembered but the overwhelming part of it calms a little.
    This may just be me though.
    What are your ideas/thoughts about this?

  8. Wow thanks for your response. I'm touched. I'm glad you asked me these questions.
    I think I activate my emotions in every painting. I mean it's hard not too it's me own experiences, feelings, etc. What's painful more for me is sketching the idea of a painting. When I sketch I have to make sense of my emotions to a a degree. So I go through lots of paper.
    The art about my mom (which is still ongoing) has liberated me because I feel like every time I paint about her I'm doing a small tribute to her. My journal is my paintings. Instead of writing a diary entry I paint a painting.
    She's not here, but her memory remains.

  9. hi dear, i just saw your comment on one of my blog pic, so i came here to know more about you...first of all, sorry about your mom, well we all know that she's very very happy and living peacefully in HEAVEN , up there.
    don't think so much about her and let yourself lament over the loss( but that's quite impossible , i know...), but you see she's always with you in your heart, in your memories ( wherever you go ) and much much more --- she'll always be there in your paintings...! love from me-- nandita.

  10. Thank Nanditark you for your kind words.

  11. Wow! I lost my parents a long time ago. Haven't touched on this subject yet. Thanks for sharing your awesome work!

  12. Really powerful... I admire the emotional integrity of your work. Thank you for visiting my blog. I appreciate your comment.

  13. Your work is wonderfully visceral and filled with expression. Kudos for making something quite beautiful out of what is a devastating and harrowing experience.

    I embarked on a similar painted journey this past year, painting for the memory of dead friends, and it has been incredibly cathartic. I hope you will find similar peace in the knowledge that you've made a legacy of memories from your gift.

  14. moms are what makes the world go 'round. powerful work

  15. hi
    your artwork is truly awesome, thank you for sharing it with us.

  16. Hi Shelley, Thank you so much for stopping by my blog and commenting. I so appreciate when folks take the time to leave a kind remark. I too lost my mother, to suicide, and it's never easy to lose a loved one, especially a sudden death. I hope that your art brings you the peace you seek. I was young at the time, 17, and am now 55, so I've come to an age where I celebrate my mother and the talent she shared through my art, so most of my work is happy or very realistic.
    I see that several folks here have used art to help with a loss or pain. Do you feel it helps? How do you decide what you will paint, or does it just flow as you go? I've never tried to use art as a way to deal with pain, except to create a portrait for the family closest to the loved one lost.

  17. Wow thanks for your reflective response. I'm sorry about your mother's death. I plan every artwork with a sketch, because that helps me get my feelings in order. I can definitely say that art does make me more happy. I feel like a huge load has been lifted off me. Painting makes me feel more free.

  18. Hi Shelley, I am so glad you stopped by and left a comment, how else would I have found you. I too lost my parents long ago, a son 12 years ago and his only daughter (my granddaughter) just 2 years ago. The pain was almost unbearable, and still experience it daily. What has helped me though, other than prayer and ART, is reading.
    I was given a book called Talking to Heaven by James Van Praagh. I was lucky enough to meet Mr Van Praugh and he spoke to me about my son and my mom. (am willing to share his conversation if you are interested) I then went on to read Many Lives, Many Masters by Dr Brian Weiss, whom I would love to meet. He will be in Phoenix in Oct. Hope I am able to attend. Any how...there are many more books that have helped and of course my painting. I did a painting after I lost my granddaughter called Personal Symbols Posted on Art with Moxie on Feb 19 2010. Of course, the symbolism may not have the same meaning to the viewer, but the story of her passing is all there. It helped me in my painful journey. I am so sorry that you are on this journey now and am so glad that you can express your feelings through your wonderful art.
    May God bless you and keep you safe.
    Email me anytime ...

  19. Thanks Cory for your reflective post. I am sorry for your loss. I will be sure to look at your February 2010 blog.