Tribute to My Mum – (Oil on Canvas)
910mm x 610mm
I painted this in honour of my mum Gloria Moleman who died in London on 13 January 2015.
My mum was an artist, my inspiration and my mentor.
A month before Mum died her oncologist handed her over to palliative care as her cancer was no longer treatable. She needed specialist care so was moved to a nursing home. I was away on holiday with my family at the time. My sister in law contacted me asking me for one of my paintings to hang on the wall of her new room. We thought my mum had months left.
I imagined what I would paint her when we got back home. My mum had always loved waterfalls and we were often chasing them on our holidays growing up. I’d always promised her a painting of my kids but fell short. Mum regretted never meeting our dog Oliver. Sadly by the time Oliver came into our lives she was too sick to travel to Australia. Growing up I loved surrealism (I still do) and in one of my earliest paintings was a landscape made up of a sofa, television and a tap in the sky with a waterfall pouring out of it.
Mum took a sudden turn for the worse just as we returned from our holiday. I was on a plane to England before I could even blink and Mum died the day I arrived, so that painting never happened. Or not as I had originally intended.
The following day I gave a heartfelt eulogy at my mum’s funeral. I spoke of the incredible mum, artist, poet. I spoke of her great love of nature. Of waterfalls.
I became determined to paint that picture for my mum. I knew she would see it. So when my grief finally allowed me some ability to function again, this tribute was the first thing I did.
I didn’t lose the original concept but, from where my mum was now, she could see and visit her granddaughters and meet our Oliver whenever she wanted.
The lute was my thanks for Mum’s guidance with my art. My memory of drawing “Fantasy Music” (see The Attic) is always of her guiding me and encouraging me. She really liked that picture.
The African Violets refers to her beloved pots of African Violets on our kitchen windowsill that flourished and bloomed under her care.
The paintbrush – “Come sit with me while I’m painting. You can pick up a paintbrush and join in if you want. You’ll be in every painting I paint anyway” – from the eulogy. So I’ve given Mum her very own paintbrush.
The last time I spent time with Mum was in August 2013. On my last day there we we coerced Dad to take us to Cookham to see the Stanley Spencer gallery. It was a perfect, English summers day. With childlike enthusiasm and map in hand Mum and I took the path around the village to see the inspirations behind his work. We sat by the river and finished off with a pub lunch. A quote by Stanley Spencer has stuck with me ever since
“Love is the essential power in the creation of art and love is not a talent”