My recent trip north to attend my mum’s funeral was originally intended to last no longer that four or five days at most.

Once there however, it just seemed to be the ‘right place’ to be. It also felt that to stay there, to be surrounded by mum’s belongings, by all the decisions she’d made to make her home was a way of continuing to spend time together.

So it was that our short stay turned into twelve days!

One of my favourite rooms in the house is the kitchen. (It’s probably fair to say that the kitchen is often my favourite room in most people’s houses.)

In the mornings, the light floods in through mum’s kitchen window, bathing it and warming it with a glorious golden light. Like in so many homes, it feels to me like the heart of the home, where often the best conversations take place and the best laughs are had.

This then, is a quick sketch of my mum’s kitchen window, for old time’s sake:

Mum’s kitchen window

Spending time in this kitchen this past week – filled with all its memories, echoes of times past, has been like enjoying a beautiful extended hug from my mum.

This next painting is something totally different! I came across an image on twitter that was attributed to photographer Saul Leiter. I don’t know what it was in particular about the image but I somehow knew that I’d like to try to paint it!

Here’s how I got on:

Girl on bus, after a photo by Saul Leiter

While I feel okay about this painting, it mainly serves to remind me that time spent on a painting is no guarantee of anything other than time spent on a painting!

Personally – even trying to take into account the immense emotional bias! – the relatively quick study of mum’s kitchen window far outstrips this second painting that probably took two or three times as long to complete!

10 thoughts on “A kitchen sink watercolour

  1. The kitchen sink is so warm and wonderful! Cherish it! It was my grandmother’s kitchen that was wonderful for me, not my mom’s, who hated cooking (but she finally learned in WWII!) All her kitchens, in every house I ever lived in was a miserable, small, sterile one, devoid of personality and designed for a servant to some with, but ADDIE’S…that’s such a wonderful memory! SHE cooked, made her own breads/rolls/biscuits/cakes and everything from scratch and let me help. She’s get up early, bake the day’s bread, go down a steep hill where she worked in her garden, return when the day got hot, rest, then cook DINNER for THE Doctor (my grandfather) nap, then start supper. Oh how I loved both of them and the many memories!
    The other one, ugh, back to the colorless stuff. It’s amazing the truth you pointed out: sometimes the mediocre takes longer that the emotional, to paraphrase your comment.

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    1. Thanks so much Margery – nice to hear your memories of family and kitchens past – they’re such evocative environments but also so often uncelebrated (at least that’s my experience when it comes to looking at other people’s watercolours!)

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    1. Hi Kim and thanks so much for this, I really appreciate it. I hadn’t really thought about popping a mount round this one but I may give it a try. Not sure whether over time it will bring back happy memories or sad ones! Thanks again Kim and I hope that all’s as well with you as can be!

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  2. Hi John,

    It’s Michael here, from DARO at work. I’m not sure if just hitting reply to your most recent post actually sends you an email, but I’ve only caught up with your most recent posts in the last few days, and read about your mum.

    I’m so sorry to hear that and I wanted to pass on my best wishes. It must be a really difficult time for you and your family. I really like the paintings of your mum’s chair and kitchen window. They’re lovely tributes to your mum and her presence. I don’t think I’d even contemplate a subject as tough as a kitchen sink, but you’ve really captured the light hitting the chrome taps and the shadows across the drainer. It’s an excellent painting at any time, and a very moving one in the circumstances.

    I hope you’re doing OK.

    Take care, Michael

    ________________________________

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    1. Hi Michael and thanks so much for getting in touch – I really appreciate it. I’m not sure that I’d have much time for either the chair or kitchen sink painting if it wasn’t for the circumstances that I’ve painted them in! These feel like they’ve given them both an added layer of meaning (or maybe just sentiment!)
      I’m as well as can be under the circumstances and hope that you are too!? Maybe I’ll see you on this afternoon’s divisional Teams meeting!? Thanks again Michael, much appreciated

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  3. Your mom’s kitchen sink brought a tear to my eye. The love is right there in the painting. And it looks like your mom has just walked away for a moment. Your comments too made me think of my own mom who is 86 and has a terminal illness and still at her home at the moment looking after her self in isolation.

    I love your paintings.
    Sharon

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sharon and thanks so much for your kind words – they’re much appreciated. Sending you and your mum strength and sympathies. What the two of you are going through is already tragic but the current restrictions make the situation utterly wretched – I’m so sorry! Thanks for taking the time to comment here when I know there’ll be far more pressing things on your mind!

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