Saturday, December 11, 2010

Andrea's book - off to Michelle

My, it's taken me a while, but Andrea's book is finally on it's way to Michelle. I posted a sneak peak back in September of this first drawing of my grandmother, mother and I. I finally finished it off with a photo of my great-grandmother.

When I originally started this book, my husband's aunt went into the hospital for about the fourth time in the last few months. Each time she went in, she came back a bit weaker and weaker, and at 91 years old, I was deeply concerned about her well-being. I originally thought to make this drawing about her, but then I changed my mind, realizing that I've never done a drawing of my own family members.

After doing this drawing, I got utterly swamped by what were supposed to be out-of-town house guests. They ended up canceling on me at the last minute, but I spent most of October doing renovations on our house to get it ready, only to find I needn't have rushed. Even though the houseguests never materialized, near the end of the month of October, my husband and I met one of our musical heroes in a whirlwind weekend full of missed sleep, concerts, old old friends not seen in decades, new friends just met and lots of drinking and dancing all around.

Then, my husband's aunt passed away on October 30th. Even though I expected it, we were still greatly saddened by her going. We live in her house and have seen all the remnants of her great wild life.

In the mean time, my own mother went into the hospital for a relatively mild problem. She had some minor surgery, and after five days, she went home. I was concerned about her anyway, because she has a history of not seeking out medical help. Even though she was a Registered Nurse in her day, she had what I thought was a foolish affinity for all kinds of new-age nonsense and routinely rejected sound medical science. I was afraid that one of these times, she'd put off seeking medical help until it was far too late, and that would be the end of her.

I had already started the drawing for the next piece in Andrea's book, and it felt more appropriate than ever.

On November 20th, I finally got a break from the aunt's funeral preparations and aftermath and I finally finished the skulls shown above.

At 5:30 am the next day, my sister called me in tears because we had lost our mother. When I saw the completed drawings in the book still open on my desk, I couldn't believe the subject matter I'd chosen for Andrea's book.

So I went to Colorado to help my dad & sis' cope with all that funeral stuff again. I had already done a drawing for the next two pages in Andrea's book, but as I was flying back home to California, I had a whole new idea and so this entry was very last minute.

I'm not sure if I actually believe the above sentiments, but it captures the emotional essence of my trip back home to deal with my mother's passing pretty accurately.

And lastly, what I had been planning all along for the collaboration page: My husband's aunt collected an incredible number of stamps over her career as a bookkeeper for Union Pacific railroad, and then later at some engineering company. In both occupations, she sorted the inbound mail from an astonishing number of countries and compulsively saved all the stamps.

I've personally only spared one huge box of stamps. Her sister took the other boxes and books and sold them to a stamp dealer - which is probably good considering the inordinate amount of time I spend looking at them any time I start going through them. I can't keep this hoard around forever, though, so in going through them I'm setting aside only my favorites. The rest are designated for use in art projects.

I included several large blocks of stamps still stuck to corners of envelopes for Michelle or whoever might like to use them in some way.

I think the wallpapered page looks pretty cool, and I suspect I'll do this again. ;)


steve said...

Wonderful post Ballookey. I too am so sorry about your mother. Looks like we've had a very similar past few weeks, and when I look at some of my own art up until m own mom's passing, it looks like I was aware of "something", whether I knew it or not. let us use our art to cope and to celebrate our mother's lives, and never stop focusing on the positive.

Mary Stebbins Taitt said...

I'm so sorry to hear your sad news! So sad about your Mom! I'm so sorry.

I love the eyes on the skulls! WOW! amazing!

My favorite is the constellations--Keith, my husband, loves those too. "I love these," he said, several times.

((and thanks again fornyour giftie!). I had great plans to writenyou and send along something, but things here have been a little out of control--not as bad as your life, though!!!)

ballookey said...

Absolutely, Steve! Thanks so much for the comments guys.

2010 started out as a "meh" year for me. Towards the end of the year I thought, I need to get a tattoo so at least I can point to *something* that happened in 2010! I really didn't expect it to get so squirrelly.

You're very welcome, Mary! Let's all keep our chins up and greet 2011 stronger than ever! :)

Andrea said...

What a great post indeed. I feel very happy to have such personal and poignant work in my book.

I am with you, 2011 has to be better, doesn't it?!? This year has been so rough on so many of us. It seems like everyone I know is going through some really tough life changes. Boo.

Ballookey and Steve, my thoughts are with you both.

Andrea said...

Also I meant to say, I love the stamp page!

I was a child stamp collector. I still have tons of 'em in boxes and you have inspired me to dig 'em back out and use them in art projects.

steve said...

Thanks Andrea. :)

Mike Kline said...

The skulls rock! It is funny how the eyes make the skull figures somewhat cuddly. If a skull can be cute - you pulled it off here! Very nice!