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He Was Always On My Mind

I’ve never thought much about the adage that “art imitates life”, however with my latest 2 paintings, I’m beginning to understand there may be a lot of truth in that statement.

It only struck me in starting to compose this blog post that both these paintings have one major thing in common – my son, who turns 30 today. He must have been on my mind in a big way over the last month, so much so that I unconsciously chose to paint: one scene that contains elements of our past and present together, and a second scene of where his future will more solidly unfold.

Painting #1: “The Kings on Queen”

“The Kings On Queen” (Toronto) – 5″ x 7″ ink and watercolour

In the summer of 1989, I would walk this stretch of Queen Street West in Toronto to get to one of 5 retail shops I managed. It was as cool a neighbourhood back then as it is now – lots of interesting shops, cafes and a street culture that is always high-energy. That summer however, I was 9 months pregnant and very low-energy! I remember strategically picking my spots to rest on that walk – first for a fried egg sandwich at a diner seat, and then next at a book store for another seat. Every time I’m on this street, I recall those last few weeks of pregnancy and my subsequent return-to-work after he was born. It feels like a homecoming, but even more so this summer with the street’s addition of a championship mural of my son’s and mine favourite sports team, the Toronto Raptors. From the time he was 6, we religiously watched their games and bonded over our love of this sport, and in June, we were together to share the championship win. From the moment I saw this scene, my subconscious mama-mind was already deciding to imitate our life by capturing this funky and memorable composition on Queen.

Painting #2: “23rd and Fifth Ave, NYC”

#164 – “23rd and Fifth Ave, NYC” miniature 2.5″ x 3.5″ ink and watercolour

After much delay and hand-wringing this year, our son landed a new job and a working visa to continue living in New York with his wife. He had spent most of this year commuting to Toronto to work, living with us. It was great having him here, but I know it was a gruelling schedule for him. I’m thrilled and relieved that he finally gets to return to a more balanced lifestyle in New York. It also means that Mom and Dad will be travelling to New York more in the future to see them, and to revisit scenes like this together outside the Eataly store at 23rd and Fifth Avenue (this image taken from one of his photos). So if art imitates life, I guess I’ll be painting much more of New York.

Happy Birthday and thanks, Jacob, for inspiring this art – even though we both didn’t know you were weaving this magic!

(Miniature original available at my miniatures Shop link, and the 5×7 available at my Originals shop link)

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