The last of my “Painting a Day” paintings.

The_Artist_and_His_MotherAn Artist and His Mother, by Arshile Gorky.

I have been posting a painting a day over at Live Journal.  I haven’t been up to writing a poem a day this year. If you click on the link you will see my version of An Artist and His Mother.

I watched “Without Gorky” last night.  I really should have been sleeping.  I was exhausted.  It was about Arshile Gorky, to quote the TVO website:

Renowned abstract expressionist painter Arshile Gorky is at the center of this film by his grandaughter Cosima Spender. Without Gorky is a personal journey into a powerful family tragedy. At the centre of the film are the conversations between the director, Cosima, and her grandmother, Mougouch. The whole family has been shaped by the legacy left by Cosima’s grandfather: Arshile Gorky. His suicide in 1948 still echoes and disturbs the family. Gorky was an elusive character who escaped the Armenian genocide and reinvented himself as a romantic artist in New York in the 30s. Gorky struggled until he found in Mougouch the emotional support he needed to flourish. Their relationship was passionate and inspiring, however, the pressure of children and poverty soon put a strain on them. In 1947 he was struck by a series of tragedies that led to his suicide. This film takes you through the pain and courage of the family, coming to an emotional climax in Gorky’s birthplace: Lake Van, former Armenia.

Many things in life are sad but the saddest are the things that make it impossible for us to harvest the wealth of joy that is always springing up.  Life is very determined and essentially optimistic.  It is perhaps maddeningly so because we commit to so much that we are often broken by disappointment.

I loved that his daughter talked about wanting to paint when she watched him paint as a little girl, all while painting and talking to her daughter, Cosima, the films director, who narrates. For the brief time my father painted I remember wanting desperately to paint. Gorky at least let her paint on the back of his canvas!  My son is an artist. We haven’t talked about how he felt about me painting.  I didn’t do much when he was growing up.  I was too busy!

2 thoughts on “The last of my “Painting a Day” paintings.

  1. I watched it as well! Your description of it is spot-on. I think you’re also spot-on in saying the saddest things are those “that make it impossible for us to harvest the wealth of joy that is always springing up” — but then, because it is always spring up, we always have another opportunity to notice good moments, however small, and harvest their joy. My cat at this very moment is harvesting joy — he is exactly aligned with the diagonal band of sunlight slicing across the patio-door carpet!

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