Sophia (Mother & Child with Cheetahs)
With love and admiration for my Mother, Jaz Ewen
May 26, 1942 - January 29, 2021
Today I’m launching my new print, Sophia (Mother & Child with Cheetahs) and I’d like to share a little about how the original painting came to be as it is incredibly meaningful to me.
This painting, which I’ve called “Sophia” (for wisdom) articulates for me the sense memory of being a young child in my mother’s arms, believing that she could fix anything, do anything – and how that turned out to be true more often than not.
On the other side of that coin, this painting is about the almost painful tenderness that arises in your heart when you hold a small innocent being in your arms and you become infused with powerful devoted courage that makes you feel that you will do anything to look out for them.
The Cheetahs contribute to the feeling of being looked out for and cared about by forces seen and unseen. Companions, sentries, soft and elegant, fierce and swift, independent and also loving of togetherness.
The Lemon Trees are about joy and fruitful abundance. Nourishment. A banquet.
The Urns evoke antiquity and possibly eternity. Never ending. The symmetry summons a feeling of sacred space.
The Mother’s dress reminds me of Venetian Carnival, with all its celebration, masks, and mystery.
The Child’s hand touching the Mother’s face: the tenderness is mutual.
It’s an uplifting painting -- vibrant colors and what I might call an energetic composition-- yet I painted it just after my beloved mom passed away early last year.
It was my hope that I could make a painting with a strong presence that would somehow help me make sense of the world and also comfort and inspire others who need such a refuge of their own. A place of safety and love. A launchpad for wisdom and adventure. In the moment, I often thought of the works as "religious icons, but without the baggage.”
I wanted to honor the complexity of our Mother-Child relationship and maybe even make something that would bring us closer together, even now that she's passed on. This is my attempt.
Gratitude, Wonder, Tenderness: This is how I want to memorialize my relationship with my Mother, Judith Anne Everson Ewen (who in her later years preferred to be called Jaz).
I love you, Mom.