There was a recent day when my son was sick. Tired and weak, he crawled into the deep pile of pillows on my bed to rest, and quickly fell asleep. On tiptoes, I inched into the room to feel his flushed cheeks and warm forehead, checking him with a mother’s worried, loving eyes.
The room was still and soft; the folds on the white pillows were tinted with blue and gold. The quilt lay across his sleeping chest, and the beauty of this restful moment enveloped me as I stood, quietly watching.
Always one to browse and soak in Impressionist paintings, an image floated through my mind as I lingered, a painting by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. I suddenly saw the moment as a painting.
As an artist – well, really, as a human – I try to pay attention. To notice and find the beauty and wonder in everyday moments. To value everyday moments, because that is where life is, and life is so short. When I see it, I try my best to capture what I have seen, what I have felt, what I have imagined. Sometimes it is easy, like a quick doodle to capture a snapshot in the day; sometimes it requires more effort.
In this case, I used gouache for the second time in my life, and sought to blend the images of Toulouse-Lautrec’s painting with the quiet, colorful moment of a child’s afternoon nap. It’s not perfect, but it captures a hint of what I saw as I stood in my room, and it is always a gift to try something new.
“The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” –Pablo Picasso