My Mother’s Essentials

M&Ms, Diet Coke, butter, and a pharmacy of prescription drugs keep my mother going these days. But after drawing her kitchen table while doing an overnight shift to care for her this week, I quickly realized that my drawing would be incomplete without the addition of the other essentials that keep her alive. In spite of physical decline and hardship, her 70-pound, arthritis-riddled body is no match for her indomitable spirit and force of will.

My Mothers Essentials

Drawn with Micron 02 and 005 black pens, watercolor in Stillman & Birn “Beta” sketch journal. Click to view larger

Admittedly, it’s strange to share a page like this one. But it’s also the honest reflection of my life at the moment, which is what I like to capture in my journal. And hopefully, my mom won’t mind too much…

28 Comments on “My Mother’s Essentials

  1. Besides being so well drawn, Jean, this spread is touching. Your mother is ill and only 70 pounds – my gosh. I have a feeling sketching helps you cope. I bet you’re as tough as she is though! I may not comment every time, but I love seeing all your sketches. Happy November to you!

  2. This sketch resonates beauty on so many different levels. It is personal and real and reminds me of my father and his final days. Your mom is lucky to have you sketching near. Best wishes!

    • Thanks Sarah–I’m glad this reminded you of caring for your dad. I’m fortunate to be able to be with my mom– she’s an inspiration.

  3. I remember being offered m&m’s when I visited in July. Send your mom my love… cousin David

  4. JEAN

    as i sit here at her table, i must say this drawing is great!! THANKS FOR YOUR HELP THIS WEEK. HOPE THE BOYS ARE WELL. KEEP ON DRAWING!


  5. It makes me think of what I would draw when caring for my mother, some overlaps, like willpower and finding joy. I love this page, thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks Anne…it’s nice to have a page like this in my journal. Sweet and heart-wrenching. I’ve enjoyed seeing your paintings and drawings, too.

  6. Your page makes perfect sense to me, as I’m in a similar space with my mom. It’s great how you can see past the unfortunate decline and appreciate your mothers many strong traits.

    • Thanks Claire! I’m fortunate that my mother has always been strong and grounded. I’ve wanted to draw her major food groups for awhile (m&ms, butter, diet coke), and I’m glad I was able to combine them this way with her essential strengths. Good luck with your mom!

  7. Cherish these times with your Mother, I lost my Mom in July this past year I miss her a lot. This is a great page and you’ll remember sitting at her table whenever you look at it.

  8. I love to seeing our “ordinary” world of things turned into an extraordinary watercolor of our lives.
    Do I remember from your older journals that you did a page like this about your dad and his things? Looking forward to see you.

  9. Beautiful artwork as always and poignant. There is a beauty in the truth of it, you captured so well the moment seen and the moment felt and known by you alone. Thank you for sharing such a lovely tribute, prayers of peace, love , and strength to you, your mother and your family.

    • Thanks much! I was relieved to find out today that my mom saw the post and liked it. She’s not one for attention, but she was pleased to know that the piece was positively received.

    • I guess we all struggle with these same issues. Good to connect and remember that we are not alone in dealing with trying circumstances.

  10. Thank you for sharing this tender time in such a beautiful way. May you all have strength for this phase of your journey.

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