Mother, Mother, I Want Another… Painting!

Shout out to all you Mamas out there! Mother’s Day is upon us! I read that moms spend three 40-hour weeks changing diapers per year. Even though my kids are waaaay done with diapers, I shall be repeating this fact to everybody in my family forever. There are no studies on other bodily fluids we clean up (or milk spills. Or Legos.) but suffice it to say, we spend a lot of time with paper towel.

Though she wasn’t a mother, herself, Mary Cassatt seemed to have a really good handle on what motherhood looks like. Her depictions of mothers with their kids are spot on. I love that she doesn’t try to make it look glamorous or easy, but does capture sweet moments with loving moms.

Take Young Mother Sewing, for example.

She’s probably sewing a mask for pandemic protection.

This isn’t the stiff portrait of some royal family trying to be something they’re not. It’s a mom, so used to having a kid hanging on her, she doesn’t miss a stitch. I’m guessing the little girl was asking for a cheese stick, and when her Mom said “It’s almost dinnertime,” the little girl looks at the painter as if to say, “can you believe this lady? I’m so taking one anyway.”

It is always a wonder to me how artists put colors together. The grass and the two dresses should look awful together, but Cassatt makes it work beautifully, then adds the orange flowers that bring the whole color scheme to the next level, in my opinion.

Here is another one I love by Mary Cassatt:

Look at those bulbous sleeves!!

If you know me, you know I love love love putting my nose right into a baby’s soft little cheek. Just letting it sink right in. Faces don’t have that kind of elasticity forever, so it’s imperative you do it as much as possible when you have a baby or toddler. Also, it turns out they don’t always love that particular display of affection when they are teenagers. I’m certain this mother knows that and is savoring this moment. Again, I love what Mary does with color, the gold sleeves and then that little green ribbon? It just works!

Cassatt has a million more Mother/Child paintings, each with their own darling merits. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t put my favorite of her paintings here:

No fancy posture here!

I know this girl! I’ve seen her in my daughters’ faces when they’re bored, tired, or trying to figure out what to do next. In the next frame, her mom walks by and says, “Legs together! You’re wearing a dress!” Then plops the dog (who isn’t supposed to be on the chair) onto the floor and slouches down beside her daughter. They sit silently, then the Mom nudges her daughter’s foot and says, “I could go for a three o’clock cup.” The daughter replies, “I’m bored.” And the mom says, “Let me get my coffee, then you want to play Uno?” And the girl is rejuvenated until 10:30pm when the Mom is telling her to “GO TO SLEEP” for the fortieth time.

But that’s just speculation.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends!!

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