a tribute to my mother, Roslyn Gerard
Years before my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, I asked her what her favorite colors were. I was planning on making an apron for her, and I wanted to make sure that the apron was in colors that she would like. She told me “red and blue.” So I made the apron in red and blue, and I made other things for her in red and blue, including a small pouch that turned out to be the right size for one can of her favorite soft drink. At one point, that favorite soft drink was any variety of diet cola that was available at whatever restaurant she was frequenting with my dad. Later, she switched to Diet Squirt, which she drank copiously. She always enjoyed her food and beverages. She loved going out to lunch and eating tilapia and a few sides. The servers at the restaurants knew her favorites, and they just asked her, “The usual?” My dad also had a few favorites. At one restaurant, he loved the crepe, and, at another restaurant, it was the French toast. My dad could have had breakfast all day long, and he would have been very happy.
I liked the occasional restaurant meals with my parents. They were so happy in the restaurants, getting such great attention from the servers who knew both their eating habits and their names. I also truly enjoyed making things for my mom, especially because her reaction was always the same, even if I didn’t think that I had done my best work. She was very delighted with all of her gifts. I felt so much joy at being able to give these handmade things for her.
Shortly before my mom was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, she narrowed her favorite colors from red and blue to just blue. She had become enamored with the color blue. She wanted to wear blue every day. She was happy to point out that she was wearing all blue in a variety of shades. She let me know that her clothes were better coordinated than mine because they were all blue, while I was wearing a collection of colors. She had definitely embraced the concept of monochromatic.
Today, I was thinking about her and about my gouache paints. One of the things that I’ve had to do with these paints is to keep to a limited palette because I have just four colors plus white. I started thinking about doing something that would be nonrepresentational, and I thought that I would create a collection of blues by mixing colors in different ways.
2 thoughts on “A study in blue”
What a wonderful painting to honor your mother and her love for the color blue. My mom also had Alzheimer’s disease, we lost her in 2000. This is such a cruel disease for both the patient and loved ones. Sending you hugs and love.
Thank you so much, Martha. I am so sorry for your loss. I send you hugs and love back. What a nightmare this disease was for both of our moms and for all of their families. I hope that, someday, the right medication can be found that will put Alzheimer’s disease into remission. The day that happens will be the most wonderful day possible for so many families.