You see, my mother had a lot of brushes, crammed into a well-tarnished silver pitcher, that I inherited after her death nearly three years ago. I liked the way they looked and the memories they brought to mind so I had left the whole thing pretty much untouched and on display until just recently, when I began decorative painting again.
The thing is, my mother was really something - I realized way too late in life. You know how it is - as a teenager your parents can be SO embarrassing. But now I appreciate - and miss - her creativity and spontaneity. That the house would be a mess around her but she would be hand-painting charming flowers on Easter eggs, inspired by her bone china tea cups... In her baggy flannel pajamas... From afternoon until late into the night. And I mean real hard-boiled eggs, which, after all her effort were intended to be peeled and eaten. She also taught me to appreciate well-worn second-hand pieces of furniture and envision them as they could be. As I now paint my own unique projects, I think of her often and wonder what she would think of a particular piece I was painting.
Here is a photo of my mother meeting her great grandson for the first time in 2008. In the background, perched on top of the lovely secretary that had belonged to her mother, is that very special pot of brushes.
So, I finally decided that she wouldn't be upset with me; that she'd be excited for me, to finally tackle that pitcher of brushes. I pulled each brush out and sorted them by size, appreciating the bits of paint on the handles that she had left there while tackling her own projects. Most of them were very high quality, big brushes, so the pitcher became my "big brush" pot where those brushes could feel at home. The smaller brushes were added to my own, in a couple of tin cans (which will be decorated later), and the more specialized painting tools were added to a favorite Windsor Newton pot my sister had given me years ago. I think I like the look. And I really enjoy using Mom's brushes now - as if her hand is still on each, guiding mine.
Thanks, Mom. I still miss you.