Beneath these daffodils

Beneath these daffodils my mother rests.  She had been gardening to within a day of her death.

In July last year, all the family took a hand to carry her casket up this hill, sliding slightly in the mud.  In the autumn, my sister and nephew planted bulbs above her.  Last weekend, I sat on the bench looking down across patches of spring flowers and shrubs marking graves, set among taller trees, looking west across farmland to the distant Malvern Hills.

I struggled to capture this view with conte crayon on dark textured Ingres paper.  It is too bright, with too many colours.  At home, I kept coming back to this until I had to repair a hole in the paper and the chalked surface would take no more.  I cropped the image so the broken trees lead the eyes out beyond the edge.  It no longer resembles the true image but feels a better representation to me.

 

 

 

End of the afternoon

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When the procession of cars had left, I took a few moments alone by the graveside.  As a way to focus on the moment, I drew these lines in a pocket book and later added crayon.  I should have drawn fewer lines: it would have worked better, meant more.

My mother lies in that earth, in a coffin of woven banana leaves, covered by flowers taken from our gardens, lowered there by us who then scattered soil and petals and rosemary.  She will have a plaque flush with the ground and within a season her resting place will be overgrown by tall grasses and wild meadow flowers.  She chose to be buried at the top of a slope, so she might have a view.

In all the years, I  have only drawn her twice.  The sketch below was sometime this year and, inevitably, at a pub meal.

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Preparing for the funeral, we unearthed dozens of old photographs.  Over the coming months I hope to re-imagine family from old images, not as copies but as new art, as remembrance.   I would welcome links to your pages if you have done this too.