#84 Love & Devotion


84 Love & Devotion

 #84 Love & Devotion
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Leona L. DeSimone
May 26, 2016 — February 13, 2001

Beloved Wife, Mother and Grandmother
1916 – 2001

This piece was orig­i­nal­ly pub­lished in Feb­ru­ary 2017 for the anniver­sary of the pass­ing of my moth­er on Feb­ru­ary 13, 2001. It’s the per­fect piece to send again for Moth­er’s Day, for I’m proud to intro­duce you to this incred­i­ble woman who brought up four young kids on her own after our father’s ear­ly death. She was always smil­ing (except when I heard her secret­ly cry­ing as she count­ed pen­nies to feed her chil­dren). Hap­py Moth­er’s Day to every­one, for you are either a moth­er or you’ve had one.

—Feb­ru­ary 2017—

Before I release Amper­Art #100 with a big cel­e­bra­tion lat­er this year, I want­ed to include in the first 100, two specially-​numbered pieces of my art­work to hon­or my mom and dad, from whom I inher­it­ed my talent:
My father, to whom I will pay trib­ute with Amper­Art #62, died at 62 years old on March 29, 1962. It will be released in March.
My moth­er, to whom I pay trib­ute with Amper­Art #84 (she died at 84 years old on Feb­ru­ary 13, 2001), which is the Amper­Art I release today.

We had huge hydrangea bush­es in our front yard, and I always asso­ciate those flow­ers with my mom. They are soft and pas­tel (ours were a mix of pink, blue, white and pur­ple), and big and round and cush­iony look­ing. I was very pleased to find this beau­ti­ful art­work which depict­ed the exact col­ors of Mom’s hydrangeas.

I always called them big bul­bous old-​lady flow­ers; today I dis­cov­ered the prop­er term (thanks to my friend JoAnn — I thought they were aza­leas). As for “old lady,” we kids were for­tu­nate our moth­er lived to a won­der­ful 84 years old, in pret­ty good health, too, all the way up until almost the very end. For the last sev­er­al weeks we took turns stay­ing with her and nurs­ing her. One thing I will always cher­ish is the hon­or, although it was very embar­rass­ing to my mom, to change her dia­pers, for that is what she did for me a long, long time ago.

Mom’s favorite col­or was deep cobalt-​navy-​indigo blue, so I chose that as the back­ground to this piece of art. The type­style is soft and friend­ly, but also a time­less face which express­es solid­i­ty and integri­ty. That’s what my mom was — nur­tur­ing, always smil­ing, but stern enough to bring her kids up as decent human beings. Well, most of us; I’m the eccen­tric black sheep. In fact I actu­al­ly hat­ed my moth­er because she would­n’t allow Dad­dy to spoil me all the time. After our dad died when I was 10 and my broth­ers and sis­ter were even younger, it did­n’t take long for me to real­ize who was real­ly keep­ing the fam­i­ly in line. I loved my dad dear­ly, but when I real­ized that his gen­er­ous and spoil­ing nature was tamed by my down-​to-​earth mom, I gained a true respect and admi­ra­tion for her. A dif­fer­ent kind of love, one that is based on sen­si­bil­i­ty, love and devo­tion to her children.

The peach col­or in the let­ter­ing is the col­or of ros­es we, specif­i­cal­ly my sis­ter Roslyn, chose for her funer­al. We expect­ed per­haps 50 – 75 peo­ple, and over 200 showed up to pay their respects. Our moth­er touched so many peo­ple with her smile and kind­ness, peo­ple we nev­er even knew, that it blew us away. How proud I felt for hav­ing such as spe­cial per­son as a moth­er that spread so much joy to strangers (well, strangers to her kids).

Mom always sang a lul­la­by to us that is still one of my favorite melodies. We had it played on the organ at her funer­al. All Through the Night (the Welsh lul­la­by, not the Cin­di Lau­per hit)You can lis­ten to it here, sung by Per­ry Como and the Ray Charles Singers in a TV broad­cast from 1958, just around the era Mom would be singing it to all us chil­dren. Appar­ent­ly it struck some­thing deep in Per­ry Como too, as you’ll notice he was­n’t able to fin­ish the song.

My broth­er Rob took that spec­tac­u­lar pho­to of her grave­stone. The reflec­tion of the tree and branch­es are mean­ing­ful. They’re like the strength and endurance that mom always had to with­stand some tough times, mak­ing sure we kids grew up in a nur­tur­ing and lov­ing home.

You left us one day before Valen­tine’s Day, so it’s fit­ting that I sim­ply say Mom, I love you. 

chaz sez ...

Check out the new “chaz sez” blog at Des​i​moneDesign​.com, my com­mer­cial graph­ic design web­site. It’s most­ly about design, typog­ra­phy, print­ing, pub­lish­ing & mar­ket­ing, but on occa­sion I’ll divert to a side­ways top­ic that just can’t escape my rant­i­ng & raving.

Production notes for #84 Love & Devotion:
Original size: 20x30 inches

Program: Adobe Illustrator
Font: Goudy Oldstyle
Ampersand: Goudy Oldstyle
Hydrangeas: deposit​pho​to​.com
Mom’s gravestone: Robert DeSimone
All Through the Night: The Perry Como Show /​ YouTube
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To download a full-​size high-​resolution 11x17-​inch poster, click on the image.

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