Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This is a painting by Tretchikoff - a painter whose work shoed up everywhere in the 60s and 70s. Every department store in North America carried prints of his work and hundreds of thousands of people bought them.
Including my mother. This was her favorite piece of art. I can remember as a child her coming home from Eaton's (the big department store in downtown Vancouver) with this picture and wherever she went - and she moved a lot in the last twenty years of her life - she took this painting with her and displayed it in a prominent place in whatever space she lived. It didn't matter that it was a woodstove heated two room cabin in the wilderness of northern British Columbia - her Tretchikoff was one of the first things to be dealt with, hung in pride of place.
I like to think that she liked this painting for the same reasons I do. It feels still to me, a brilliantly lit kind of calm, that lightens the world around you. This woman - in her bright clothes - makes me think that she contemplates everything, all the good and all the bad, and that she accepts it for what it is. In peace.
My brother now has this painting in his bedroom and whenever I go to his house I wander in - nonchalantly - and take a deep breath, hoping to take that calmness and peace home with me.