A Tree Grows in Chinatown: She Worked Hard

•Thursday 22 October 2015 • Leave a Comment

she-works-hard

Title: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: She Worked Hard; Size: 12×24; Media: Mixed

My mother smiles in the photo of her working on a farm. She is a teen-ager, dressed in a white shirt, pedal pushers and saddle shoes. “I gave the money to my family,“ she remembers. It has always been her nature to work hard and take care of her people with little expectation of return…

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Schoolgirl

•Thursday 15 October 2015 • Leave a Comment

schoolgirlTitle: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Schoolgirl; Size: 12×24; Media: Ink, silk, paint on canvas.

Seeing the photo of herself as a gap toothed girl prompts my mother to remember: “We used to take the trolley car to school every day. I always dozed off. I was up so late studying every night, but I never got it. ” She is a natural lefty, but was forced to use her right hand, making dyslexia…

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Postcard

•Tuesday 13 October 2015 • 2 Comments

postcard-scroll-webTitle: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Postcard; Size: 14×24; Media: Cotton rag paper, ink, yarn.

“The young couple settled in Nanaimo where they had a chicken farm. There is a postcard of the family before Douglas, the youngest, was born. My mother and her two older siblings, Arthur and Margaret, look a bit hungry. Gilbert, the baby, looks like a baby…”

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Will

•Wednesday 30 September 2015 • Leave a Comment

a-tree-grows-in-chinatown-tTitle: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Will; Size: 12×24; Media: Mixed on canvas.

There is a photo of my mother and her older siblings. She stands with her arms crossed, looking  directly at the camera. Her body language reads “Don’t mess with me. If you aren’t going to help, then get out of my way.” She has always had a strong will and a very firm resolve…

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Beginning

•Sunday 27 September 2015 • Leave a Comment

weddingscrollweb
Title: A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Beginning; Size: 12×24; Media: Acrylic paint, medium, inkjet print on silk, on canvas.

This photo is of the actual work derived from the photoshop image I posted recently. With the text reading down and to the left, I thought it might be effective to use a more elongated shape to invoke the idea of scroll. I also decided to place the image in front of the text. I like the elegance of the longer shape; I think it works for me.

I also changed the title and the text slightly. The modified text reads:

My mother said: “He was 23 and she was 18 when they married. The bride price included: 2 roast pigs; 24 barbecued ducks, 48 roast chickens, 100 pounds of rice, 200 fortune cookies, 10 yards of silk, 10 dozen oranges, 20 dozen hard boiled eggs, and other things that I can’t remember”…

The source image is my maternal grandparents’ wedding.photo.

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Wedding

•Sunday 20 September 2015 • Leave a Comment

wedding-webA Tree Grows in Chinatown: Wedding; Size:16×20; Media: Acrylic paint and inkjet print on silk on canvas.

There is a photo of two young people in fancy dress, my mother’s mother and father…My mother says, “He was 23 and she was 18 when they married in 1928. The bride price included: 2 roast pigs, 24 barbecued ducks, 48 roast chickens, 100 pounds of rice, 200 fortune cookies, 2 dozen oranges, 20 dozen hard boiled eggs, and other things I can’t recall.”

A Tree Grows in Chinatown: Good Mother

•Tuesday 1 September 2015 • 2 Comments
good-mother

Title: A Tree Grows n Chinatown: Good Mother; Size: 10″ x 10″; Media: Acrylic Ink, Silk, on canvas

Today’s soundtrack is Yo-Yo Ma playing Ennnio Morricone movie music – oh such gorgeous sentimentality.

Yo-Yo Ma playing Ennio Morricone movie music was also the soundtrack of my mother’s memorial yesterday afternoon. It wasn’t a service, really the only thing that could be considered service was the catering. I chose to not have anybody at the front of the room pretending to have known my mother well enough to speak about her, not even one of us.

I foresaw a new tradition, a new ritual where we, the family and friends, would get together in the reception room where we would eat things (little sandwiches, tapas, little cakes, seafood and candy – the Hy Chews were a particular success) and drink things (coffee, tea, water and lemonade), and we would talk with each other, sometimes about her and sometimes not, while she lay in her casket in the chapel next door. Some folks would venture next door to visit with her, but mostly folks would visit with one another.

It was a success, nobody complained about the lack of tradition, and everybody was glad to see everybody else. My mother’s extended family is big, and we don’t get to see one another very often. It seems that we are using funerals in lieu of family reunions.

ps. I recommend Yo-Yo Ma playing Ennio Morricone movie music, it’s marvelous.