Carol Berning

Mother's Gaze, 2020
Soft Pastel on Paper
8 x 10 in
As the caregiver for my 95-year-old mother, I grab moments to sketch her as she is quilting, silking corn, baking bread, reminiscing about her childhood and young adulthood, or napping. She is a vital, witty, social woman despite a recent fall and broken bone, corrective surgery which failed, and revision surgery to repair the first--during a time of no hospital visits. COVID-19 has limited her ability to socialize with her friends and visit with family. Despite that limitation, we continue to quilt, harvest our garden produce, bake bread, reminisce--and oh yes, nap! I've even encouraged her to try her hand at painting while we're physically distanced from others. The gouache landscape that she completed of the lane leading to her home will always be a treasure.

This profile I completed from life in a few sittings. I had a tray of pastels handy, and I began the sketch as she gazed out the kitchen window. My goal was to show her years and her beauty. During the second and third sittings, I punched the color, adding blues and purples, as well as correcting the drawing.

We're physically distanced and socially distanced from others during this time of COVID-19, but our little family—she, my husband, and I—still focus on the things and people we love, even if it's through making face-time calls, gathering by zoom, or sitting with a tray of pastels and a person you love.