My Mother: The Artist

There's been little art-production taking place over the last year or so as I've been mourning the loss of my dear mother. She was a real cool lady and I miss her a great deal. The harsh reality though, is that there will come a point in life where all sons must say goodbye to their mothers (presuming that they outlive them). Where do we go from here? 

Josh and Mother Roupe circa. 2015.

Josh and Mother Roupe circa. 2015.

I've experienced a great deal of loss throughout my life and have always channeled my frustrations and short-comings into my ability to make artwork. When I was a child I drew pictures as a form of escapism to liberate myself from the unstable environment created by my alcoholic father. My mom would often draw with me and taught me a few fundamental things. She was an artist as well when she was younger before the responsibilities of raising four children in an unstable home overshadowed her pursuits of creative expression.

One of her early accomplishments and downright bizarre coincidences was a portrait she drew of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963-hours before his assassination. She was a senior in high school. The news paper did a story on her featuring her piece which was exemplified by the timing of the event.

Linda Roupe with portrait of John F. Kennedy. Circa. 1963.

Linda Roupe with portrait of John F. Kennedy. Circa. 1963.

For years she told the story of this drawing but I had never seen it. It wasn't until some weeks following her passing, that I discovered a small metal box buried in the back of her closet. I opened it to discover the photograph above, a laminated newspaper clipping and several drawings, including the Kennedy sketch. I felt like Indiana Jones standing in front of the Ark of the Covenant exsept that I didn't have to fight any Nazis to get there.

It was an entire portfolio of drawings which I had never seen. Sure, some of them weren't gallery-ready but they were still her work and I found them all beautiful. As I gently rifled through them, I felt a sense of my mother there with me and I knew things would be alright.

Several months have now past and I still find myself in limbo. Perhaps I've been to too self-conscious to put myself and work back out there but I've grown tired of this depressive cocoon. I've got to get out. I know there's no sense of making empty promises to you or more importantly myself. When the time is right though, I know that I'll have the fuel to continue doing what I do..

Art preserves humanity and thru it, none of us are ever truly lost.