I was just thinking about calling my mother…she’s dead. She died in 2006 unexpectantly. I don’t know how many times I thought about calling her since then. The day she died, I was living in Philadelphia and had been sick for 2 days, the flu or something and really bad laryngitis. Feeling as though I couldn’t sleep anymore, and got up to start painting a picture for my daughter; the one I promised her for the past several years. There was a specific photo of her I had in mind where she was wearing a velvet, olive-green, 1940’s short hat-the kind that just sits on the top of the head without sides and has mesh over the eyes to the lips.
I had started with the lips because I knew the detail of the mesh would be hard to do without messing it up. Her painted red lips where a stark contrast to the olive-green of her eyes and the hat. About 3/4 of the way through the lips I realized it was not that photo I had painted, it was someone else’s lips. I continued to paint thinking I will paint my daughter’s painting after finishing this stranger I had found myself mysteriously painting. I started thinking about the lips my mother used to put on napkins and give to us as children by pressing her painted lips against the soft paper. They were kisses that were captured forever on the napkin that we could keep in our drawers, or books, or any place we wanted-forever.
The lips had evolved into almost the entire canvas, not leaving room for any other parts of the face. I remember sitting there, smoking a cigarette, looking at the lips when the phone rang. It was my father and he said: “I don’t want you to crack up or anything but your mother is dead.” I just kept saying: “I know, I know, I know.” I didn’t cry or feel shock. I don’t remember what we said next, I just remember staring at the lips I had just painted. Sometime after we hung up I realized I had starred at the lips for a while, wondering if my mother suffered at all and what exactly happened. Then I realized I had been painting her lips at the moment she died…the kiss on the napkin that got bigger and bigger.
She was telling me goodbye through the skill that she had taught me, to paint. She knew my great passion for painting and how more appropriate could it have been? I named the painting: MARY ANN’S LAST KISS and it rest comfortably in my private collection along with the other very special paintings which were given to me as gifts although painted by my hand. Holy Mary is one-read about her on the home page and how she came to be at: www.therevelationpainting.com. The world is odd, things that happen are odd and I love these mysteries. I miss my mother but know that she had a promise to fulfill for the time she was given. If there is a God, he would not have let her leave if he thought she would not return. She had an angel’s work to do.