Mother, my mother, your mother, our mother. Mother Earth. Every mother everywhere. Symbolized by the strength of granite, the fire of the sun, the guidance of the moon, and the ferocity of the lionfish.
All my thoughts while I was making this painting were about my own mom and the years she dedicated to caring for her children, which, were really most of her life. Originally, this artwork began as a little pencil sketch I did while hanging out with a mother friend of mine at a Hyde Park Bakery and Cafe in Austin. We'd go down and play our guitars together at the Elizabeth Nay Museum creek and she would bring her daughter along with us.
One day it struck me how I had never really considered all the days that my own mom had done that for me, along with all my siblings. The granite symbolizes the foundation of motherhood, the immovable instinct and conviction every mother has toward caring for their children. It's pointed underneath to reflect how it may hurt, it may hurt you or me, what a mother has to endure to be a mother - To stand upon this foundation - The foundation of motherhood is not an easy thing, but it's beyond 'not easy,' it's a real, painful experience that is heavy and pointed, and immoveable, like granite.
How I Made this Artwork
This digital painting started out as a pencil study on a piece of loose sketch paper. The first step was to scan the image at a high enough resolution that I could see the grains of the paper upon zooming to 1:1 screen/pixel resolution. Building the scene was very experimental, as the background of a mother, or what motherhood means to me, is vast and occupies so many different ways of feeling and thinking that in the end, Space herself became the backdrop. So I used google Images and looked for star maps which to sample fabrics from and build the terrestrial scene.
The figure of the mother, originally a pencil sketch, presented a very intriguing problem because I made it in a semi-abstract style using discontiguous lines that didn't "behave well" with a common realistic approach. For instance, the little line that connects the Mother's Sun-Moon hair and becomes her neck. I hadn't ever built a digital scene from a physical sketch before, and when I made the decision to keep the pencil line, I loved it. That's the moment that My Mother, My Sun, My Moon started to visually misbehave, and finally feel like it was becoming a work of art.
Going with the flow of this feeling, I began meticulously looking up the symbology of different types of rock, and digitally mapping rock textures into brushes and painting with these textures, or digitally collaging them together to make layered rock surfaces. Exploring the emotions and symbolism of color and texture, and building the objects or painting the surfaces with them, and seeing parts of the original sketch such as the mother's face, remain and stand-out against all the changing artwork around her, was the most rewarding part of making My Mother, My Sun, My Moon.
Thinking about a Gift for Someone Special?
I've already made custom prints of this painting for several close friends of mine who are mothers, and, they love it! There's something about the feeling of space and the protective feeling of the crib and the "hovering" feeling that I've been told is felt very similar to being a mom, that my friends relate to. I would probably give my father this painting, but that's just me :) .. I personally think it would make a wonderful gift for a sister or lady-friend who expresses any kind of maternal instinct, because motherhood isn't just about literal moms and their children, it's really about anyone who cares for something and nurtures for another who can't care for themselves, right?
Feeling deeper into it, though, I would recommend this art as a gift for anyone who appreciates Motherhood, in any form, and has expressed that to you. Gifts are always most amazing when they speak directly back to the person something emotional they hinted, that we took notice of!
Art Materials and Supplies that Made this Art
This painting originally started out as a pencil sketch done with my:
Rotring 800 Retractable Mechanical Pencil ( 0.5mm)
(in my Sketchbook),
a Strathmore 400 Wire Binding Acid-Free ( from Recycled Materials).
Digital effects were done on my trusty little
Dell laptop along with my Wacom Intuos Pro Graphic Tablet.