Grasping a moment in time.

My nonna had us in her grasp even when we were in plain sight. See how she is clawing at my brother’s shirt? There is no way we were going to get away from her! (First published in May 2018).

In her grasp photo as model
This photo taken in my younger days, shows my brother and I in Nonna's good grasp.

My nonna saw danger lurking in every corner. In my version, rather than having buildings in the background, I decided to add a dark, menacing forest. Now my nonna really has something to worry about!

And then the forest reminded me of a story my paternal grandmother would tell us when I was young. It had to do with children who didn't listen to their parents and went chasing butterflies into the woods.

Yes, grandmothers had different ways of instilling fear in their grandchildren!

In the morning, if we happened to be with nonna, she would bless us before we left home for school.

Strange all the memories that come to mind from looking at an object or a photograph!

I can see that my hair is in bobby pins. This tells me that the photo was most likely taken on a Saturday. Mom would have curled my hair for Sunday mass. It was one of several rituals on Saturday in preparation for the next day. Other rituals involved gathering up four pairs of shoes we would wear to church and polishing them with a liquid shoe polish. Does that even exist anymore? Later, when I was a bit older, she would use the prickly curlers to set my hair. After some time, Mom gave up trying to curl hair that wanted to be straight.


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New technique using only two colours

I tried a new technique involving values using two complimentary colours, in this case, violet and green. I added white and black to the mix to achieve the different values. This was suggested by Tina Naya'li Berendsohn in Paint Your Heart and Soul 2017 with Olga Furman.

"A good grasp of the situation", mixed media (acrylics and Posca pens) in Strathmore Visual Mixed Media journal.


Although the photo is grainy, this actually works to my advantage because the point of the exercise is to see dark and light and in-between rather than the details.

Obviously, perfection is not the aim here. Surprisingly, I was able to just let go of it the way it is after a couple of hours.  I am not sure I would use the black Posca pen the next time I try this technique. I prefer the painting without those stark black areas. Instead, I would add green and black to the violet paint until I would get a suitably dark colour mix and use that rather than the Posca.

I found this a very relaxing challenge for me. More than that, I really liked travelling back in time and remembering all those details from my childhood, something that I don't think just looking at the photograph would have done. It is the time spent painting that brought back all those memories. I do want to paint more scenes like this, capturing moments frozen in time.

What are your most precious or hilarious childhood memories? Leave a comment below.  All comments are screened before publishing. Have a great week!




2 Responses

  • I loved reading this and seeing the inspiration photo and related memories photos too! Learning about your process for the piece and the ups and downs is so relatable for me right now. Thank you for sharing the link with me! So special!

    • Hi Corinne! What a lovely surprise! So you see what I mean now when I said that painting from a phot taken long ago brings back so many memories that were buried for the longest time! I love art for that. Thanks for leaving me such a kind message.

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