Nonni, 11/2005

After I finished Nipote (meaning nieces and nephew in Italian), I went back to my old photos. I found this one of my grandparents for my next painting. I’m not even sure where I got this picture from but it was when Nonna (my grandmother) was healthy. She was a stylish woman I was told, always put together. In this photo, she looked well and stood up strong. But, I never knew her when she was healthy because she got sick when she was in her forties, around the time I was born.

While I painted this piece, I thought of how difficult it must have been for them to move from Italy to Buffalo, NY in the 1950’s. This is what I wrote about a few months after I finished this painting: Nonno’s eye is the yellow triangle shape toward the top right. The light purplish shape above his eye is his eyebrow. Nonna’s face is below the yellow triangle near the center. Her ear is the small circular streaky shape to the left of the triangle. Her eye and eye brow are faint streaks, her nose is the light purple tip facing downward. Her face has lots of streaky stripes of colors and that’s the energy from her sickness. The doctors tested her for many sicknesses before they diagnosed her with epilepsy. I thought about her life often and how she wasn’t able to talk. She could understand what we said but she was unable to communicate. How sad was that? What kind of life could it have been for her on earth? I would die without talking. But, I’ll never forget what the priest said about her at her funeral – that she’s talking up a storm in heaven.