I have a rocking chair in the studio. I sit and look at the days work. Last night I feel good about my current study. I enhance, highlight and pull the form together. Now the rest of the story can get organized into a grounded picture plane.
I draw 13-year-old Sophie, who has Down Syndrome or Trisomy 21. I research carefully to be accurate on details. It’s challenging because I think I understand but I don’t know that I really do. I also know at some point the science has to get set aside so I can paint with freedom.
I find it interesting that Sophie hangs on the wall with studies of my mother and father. They both retired from the El Paso Public School District – my father was a Special Education counselor for the west area of the city and my mother was a Speech and Hearing therapist.
Mom spent over 32 years working in education. She worked in Special Ed with both the moderate to severe disabled as well as with regular education that included speech problems, hard of hearing, and articulation deficiencies.
I call her while I work and ask if she is a very patient person. I use the word very but what I really mean is more than I can know, cause frankly Mom’s not known for her patience. And she doesn’t pretend to be … patient.
How did you do it, working in special education for all those years (I also want to ask how she raised 6 children)? She pauses for a good long time and then tells me she’s a realist. I just deal with what is Monica. I don’t make more of it or less of it. People are who they are. I could do it and I did it well. Not everyone can.
Mom takes care of dad these days. And I admire what appears to be her patience. I admire her practical nature and her ability to deal with what is.
On another note…
As I sit in the rocker I decide I love the freedom this open armed posture holds. It’s not my idea for Sophie to take this stand, it’s hers. I remember when we were starting out her mom saying something like … yes, that’s Sophie.
I recall a small, playful print from a few years back and I have to say, it feels more than natural to be pulling this composition together now.