I was always a pretty good planner and liked to have all my ducks in a row when I was growing up. School homework, family trips, camping in the nearby woods with neighborhood friends, sports, you name it – if it involved planning I was likely to be on top of it. Even better, if it involved packing I was in seventh heaven. You should see some of my present day pre-trip layouts for art fairs, a skiing trip, or a fishing sojourn. I classify them as epic meets obsessive! But I digress, and my packing tips are for another blog on another day. What I’m trying to say here and now is this – plan early and often for Mother’s Day all you sons and daughters out there. The margin for error on this epic Hallmark day is ZERO. Father’s Day has a much larger margin for error, mostly because of all the Father’s who mess up on Mother’s Day, which comes first in the calendar year for a reason. It’s a women’s world, men!
Think you can just wake up a few minutes early on Sunday and whip up those blueberry pancakes for good old Ma when you…oops…don’t have blueberries, or pancake mix, or maple syrup? Nothing says “I don’t love you even though you were in labor for 55 hours straight giving birth to me” more than delivering freezer burnt frozen toaster waffles with an old Aunt Jemima’s bottle sporting a few final drops which you found in the back of your cupboard to Mother Dear who spent 364 days anticipating the wonders you would bestow upon her on this, her special day. Ditto for those things you thought were flowers (which are actually classified as weeds) that you picked on the way up the walkway and stuffed into a plastic water bottle you peeled the label off of while not breaking your stride. Maybe it was 65 hours of labor, I don’t remember… Well, enough of my soapbox ramblings. You have been forewarned, and given the gift of my advice for Mother’s Day. Plan early and go big! She’s your mother.
While we’re on the subject, I thought I’d actually tie all this in with what we do, which is buying and selling art. Sometimes the art we sell relates to holidays, such as Mother’s Day. The two pieces I’ve chosen from our inventory are a wonderful 1884 portrait of his mother by American Tromp l’oeil artist John Haberle. Even though dear old Ma had asked Johnny to paint her likeness as a 27-year-old 19th Century supermodel, Mr. Haberle’s artistic integrity forced him to be realistic, but loving. All joking aside, the dignity of this woman – obviously intelligent and caring in her face, hands, and eyes show us the hallmarks of a life lived with integrity, intelligence, and grace. Her son was able to capture his mother’s essence on canvas. I’m not sure if it was a Mother’s Day portrait, but I will say to Mr. Haberle “Well done, Johnny!”, and to Mrs. Haberle, “Happy Mother’s Day!”
An additional artwork we have which I’m highlighting for Mother’s Day is John Costigan’s c. 1925 Mother & Child. This painting is a wonderful early double sided work. The primary image on the front (recto) could be loosely interpreted as “American Madonna with Child in the lush and fertile American landscape”. The world Costigan painted is peaceful, beautiful, sun dappled, and fertile…and he makes us want to be right there, right now. No smartphones, SUV’s or processed lunch meats needed. Our Madonna mother is nurturing, timeless, lovely, and looking out at the world in a way that is connected.
On the back of the work (verso) the artist painted another mother and child. This is a stunning oil sketch where beauty and nurturing meet as one. This double-sided work is actually John Costigan’s two works where the mothers and their children exist thematically as one. If that isn’t the essence of the love and connection that should be at the foundation of Mother’s Day (which is actually not a single day – but rather 365 days a year if you have a great mom like I do) well, then I’m not sure what is.
So get planning, you sons and daughters. Mother’s Day is just around the corner! Whether you paint or make pancakes, don’t forget to tell your Mom how wonderful she is. She deserves the upgrade to pure Maple Syrup!
And thanks to my Mom, here circa 1968, for being the best!