Sonia and Polly

This is a piece about me and my Mum, Sonia, who passed in 1994. She is shown at several ages at once, wearing a very smart green ribbon suit she knitted herself, and a silk shawl that belonged to her mother, Fanny.
The overall impression is of a woman in her 50's - younger than I am now! She is wearing her trademark 'pink-red' lipstick. Her skin was always much admired, and - as a redhead - she took great pains to protect it from the sun to avoid freckles. For this reason we spent many family holidays sheltering under wicker basket chairs on rather chilly beaches in Holland and Belgium! I have given Sonia the perfect skin she had as a younger woman - it definitely deserves to be celebrated. I have omitted her glasses, which she used to whip off at any sign of a camera. I have painted myself in my early thirties, wearing some lovely vintage peach silk nightclothes which belonged to Bertha Chester, mother of my dear Aunt, Ruth Austin. I wore them to parties with great delight for several years around that time. I am darker than my Mum was, and I have exaggerated this difference between us. Our hands touch lightly - we are making contact, but tentatively ; there was a lot of love there, but some caution too!

I decided to write this short commentary on April 1st 2006, which would have been my mother's 91st birthday.

30" square
Oil on linen