Sunday, May 10, 2009

fireflies and memories of my grandmother


Some days I have loads of things I could be drawing, but no motivation. Other days I have loads of motivation and I can't seem to find anything to draw. It was one of those "other days," and the only subject I could come up with was an empty applesauce jar. I set the jar in front of me and took some time to look at it carefully. Then came one of those telescopic moments when everything around the jar went out of focus, while the jar got bigger and clearer. My mind was flooded with memories of my paternal grandmother's backyard where my cousins and I would catch fireflies and put them into jars.

Having grown up an entire ocean plus half a continent away from where she lived, there were only five occasions--the shortest being one week in duration, and the longest being 9 months-- where I spent time in the vicinity of my grandmother during her lifetime. This sudden recollection of catching fireflies in her backyard (I must have been about 12) was a precious gift, because I have so few memories of her. I googled images of fireflies and drew them into the jar.

By this time my mind had made another leap, this time to a prematurely discontinued American television series called "Firefly." My son had spoken highly of it, so I ordered the DVD set from the US and watched it all the way through in record-breaking time. I was mesmerized by it, and immediately watched it all the way through a second time. The show's theme song contains the words "you can't take the sky from me." I adapted those words to accompany my drawing. The resulting etegami is quite different (maybe disturbingly so) from my usual style, and the references are complicated to explain, so I was dubious about displaying it publicly. But a friend persuaded me to do so anyway, saying it had a certain appeal, even apart from my convoluted explanation. So here it is. In celebration of (grand) Mother's Day.

10 comments:

  1. Oh, I adore this one! Reminds me of hot summmer nights as a kid spending the summer with my granny to!! Thanks for making me think of this!

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  2. Glad you liked it, Carla. Cheers to happy summer memories with our grannys.

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  3. I love it! I have memories of my grandmother and playing cards or eating "Cheese Puffs" - cheese puffs would be a much less interesting subject. :)

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  4. Ha ha. Etegami is a perfect medium for expressing mundane sorts of things like Cheese Puffs! In fact I might give it a try myself. Thanks for the inspiration. :D

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  5. Debbie, will you ever create something for Etsy with this image? For many reasons, I love it! With love from Cousin Tricia

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  6. @Tricia, I can try to make another one like it if you want me to. I've always loved this image too.

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  7. I think this is especially beautiful because it came from deep inside you, from you heart. Very touching! :)

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  8. I found this when I googled " fireflies etegami " ... I had been thinking about painting fireflies (I adore them, and have the same happy memories of catching them in jars as a child)...it's beautiful. And so wonderful that YOU are the ONLY thing that came up on google for this search (at least, an English-language search). How cool is that? Not 2,000,000 hits, or 2,000, or 200, or even 2! Just ONE! :) I was thinking of painting them against a night sky, not sure I can manage it, but may try it... hello on 8-16-2013! Mary Keesling

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