21 Mar 2015

Spring Eulogy - Illustrated by My Mum

As a visual tribute to Spring - my favourite season of the year - I had planned a photographic article that would collate together a few items from my vast photographic collection of wildflowers taken over the last five years in Corsica. But when yesterday I rediscovered my mum's illustration portfolio as the 15-year-old budding artist she was then, I knew straight away which visuals I would rather use for my post!

I scanned my mum's illustrations and selected those two as a representation of Spring renaissance and insouciance. Mum and I had despaired lately that her portfolio might have ended up scrapped inadvertently by the builders when they cleared boxes out of my grandma's house prior to tackling structural work... But delightfully the precious drawings resurfaced just as I had given up on them!

Mum used watercolour, pencil and ink for her illustrations, and de-facto Canson paper, from the eponymous renowned French artist paper institution that has been in existence since 1557! I too was a Canson convert from the moment I started mainstream education and then art school classes every Wednesday.

My mum was a bit of an artist. As a teenager, she wanted to become a 'script girl' (script supervisor) for motion films, while caressing secret dreams of movie stardom. She sat in photobooths, moody and pouty and downright funny, and under auspicious climes her photogenic features would have caught the eye of a film-maker or casting director. She once attended a casting call, oblivious to the fact that it was scheduled on April Fool's Day, need we say more... I hearsay that she had some male friends on the beatnik side of life with guitar to boot, and when that cool dude with the sweeping fringe and duffle coat walked up to my grandma asking her permission to take her teenage daughter to some party, grandma went 'Huuuh?' followed by a vociferous 'No way!'.

Shortly afterwards, my mum met my dad. Although he was no sultry Kerouac type, he played guitar and harmonica pretty well and his repertoire span Django Reinhardt to Bob Dylan, via Charlie Parker, Little Richard and 'Saint Louis Blues'. Although she never became a 'career' artist, my mum has sought to incorporate creative elements into her life, despite not being overtly lauded or encouraged. I am sure she still has those script girl dreams at night.

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