My mother works full-time assisting teachers at a preschool. As she gets to know the very young children just starting out in life, she says to herself, “What will this boy, this girl do with those little hands?” Children’s curious hands are busy exploring, touching, learning – testing life out. When those hands become adult size, what will they be doing?
My mom tells me how she used to hold my tiny hands and look at me and say, “What are you going to make with your hands?”
Well, my hands ended up making…a lot…of art. Too much I think now because I have to go through it all and decide what to do with it, clear out storage spaces, pack it in boxes that are square, but my art and art supplies are irregular shapes. I have kept way too much stuff, for far too many years. I’ve known this for a long time. A nagging voice with a tedious task list would often pop up: Clean out the flat art cabinet drawers in the garage. Throw away the presentation boards from the book signings I did for one of the picture books I illustrated. Get rid of the pressed flowers, leaves, and tree bark I’ve preserved to collage on a series of paintings. I didn’t paint that series because an opportunity or a deadline kept moving me into yet another direction and/or project. I guess I didn’t want to take time away from making new art to get rid of old art.
Mom, your daughter’s hands have created a lot of stuff over a lifetime and I’m paying for it now. But I am so grateful to you, Mom, for believing in me and always being supportive and encouraging for all the ways I’ve been an artist. And I’m equally grateful for all the things your hands have done for me – work, clean, cook, drive, spank, bake, create, paint, nurse, wash, teach, love, hug.
I love you, Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!
Wanna come over and give me a hand with packing?
Original painting for a children’s picture book.
Daughter, Have I Told You? by Rachel Coyne Illustrated by Virginia Halstead
Oil pastel, oil bar on Strathmore paper. 11 H x 17”W Sold.