Thursday, June 26, 2014

Side by Side Over the Years

My brother Kevin is (was) is three years younger than I am. When my parents moved from New York to Massachusetts, I had three brothers.  (The fourth came along a few years later.)  I have marveled at many aspects of my parents' lives over the years.  The fact that they moved into a big Victorian house my mother had not even seen, when we were ages three, two, one and three months old... astounding.  The house had beautiful end-to-end living rooms, each with a marble fireplace, one a little more ornate than the other. 

It was also astounding that my Mom found the time to paint portraits of us, from life.  Lots of portraits.  These pastel portraits of me at about 8 years old, and Kevin at about 5 years old, hung over the less formal living room's fireplace for years and years.  Mom picked up these vintage gold leaf frames at her favorite framer somewhere in Back Bay when I was a little girl. I think the building is long gone, having succumbed to the Copley development years ago.  I remember her framer's  giant jumbled space of antique sculptures and frames and mirrors.  It was the kind of organized chaos I have grown to love.  

Kevin died eighteen years ago, of an undiagnosed enlarged heart.  He was only 36 years old, when his heart just clicked off in his sleep.  Today is his 54th birthday. 

After Mom passed away, my living brothers and I spent a long time cleaning out her home.  We took turns choosing her artwork, a lengthy process.  She was prolific!  I used my very first pick to dig Kevin's portrait out from under the attic eaves where it had been carefully wrapped and tucked away.  He was perpetual motion as a little boy.  I love every pastel mark Mom used in his portrait. Each is confident, urgent, accurate, as if she knew each stroke might be the last before he bolted from view.  The likeness is spot on.  And, Kevin and I are side by side again here in my home.  
Nana and me with Kevin, a few days old


  1. What a lovely way you weave together your mother's wonderful portraits and your memories of your brother. Mother and daughter are both such gifted artists.

  2. What a lovely story and memory for you to share. Don always says that "Life is Memories and we make them every day" ...I think he's right. Thank for sharing one of yours.

  3. Sorry, always for you del losses, dear friend. You mother left so a legacy in so many area of her life! I know she'd be so proud of you as an artist, as a mother, wife, teacher... What a shock that must have been when Kevin passed. hugs, and thanks for sharing his beautiful portrait.

  4. such a blow :(
    Beautiful post and the portraits are a wonderful glimpse into your mum's great body of work.