Happy Mother's Day / by Brenda (Hartshorn) Licitra

When my mother ponders the fact that I'm a photographer and didn't end up painting or playing music she often asks me, "Did all the lessons I paid for actually help you?"  Absolutely.  Had I not played violin, my skills as a painter would not have been as intuitive to create gestural strokes with control.  And had I not broken my wrist, I probably would not have moved from music to the visual arts.  My success in photography would not have been possible without the encouragement of my art teachers.  It was them who saw potential in me by the way I used my camera.  I heard from several different mentors that my photos (without any Photoshop) looked more like paintings than photographs- and it was the edge I needed to stand out from the crowd.  I'm not sure if that observation still holds in my style today.  However, I think it is a good thing for work to continue to evolve and be as fluid as our journey in life.  I have been inspired by work from Michael Richardson, Arthur Dove, Edward Weston, and Stanley Kubrick.

My mother and I butt heads a lot, but I always had the support from her to do what I feel I needed to do as a kid.  For years, I'm pretty sure she didn't think my artwork was any good... but she still paid for me to attend Aldrich School of Arts in Stockton.  It wasn't until I was accepted into CSSSA with a full scholarship and was awarded as a California Art Scholar by Governor Gray Davis that she started to actually take some notice of my work.  I think there's something to be said about that... despite her lack of understanding me or my work, she still supported me- and that's honorable as a mother.

This weekend's project did not revolve around photography: I chose to paint instead.  My original supplies were donated to other aspiring artists long ago.  I don't keep unused things around for years.  If I meet someone that has a use for any of my supplies, it becomes "not my problem anymore."  Until of course, the day I need to pick a brush up again- then it creates a whole new set of problems.  It has been years since I had last painted, so I decided that I would limit my budget to using Liquitex Basics.  I prefer Liquitex's Heavy Body line, but I can't justify the cost until I'm painting regularly again.  If I manage to continue long enough to run out of paint, I will reward myself with the good stuff.  I only ever buy 4 colors, you won't find tubes of anything but Cadmium Yellow Medium Hue, Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red Deep Hue, and Titanium White in my supply box.  From these you can make any color, including (with some skill) a nice rich black.  For brushes I used nothing fancy either, I picked up a #8 Bristle Short Filbert and a #2 Round that were $3 each.  I'll probably never upgrade my brushes.  For the longest time my weapon of choice was a 2" $2 brush from OSH because I'm too cheap.  Since this is a ceramic pot that I intend to keep a living plant in, I also used a clear satin coat by Rust-oleum to protect the acrylic from moisture.  This project was a bit on the crafty side which I haven't liked in the past, but it felt good to be able to create something.