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Collage portrait of the artist grandmother in a scarf, painted from an old photo from the 1940s
**click artwork to enlarge**
(collage and oil painting on cardboard, 18X24, 2009)

"Collage portrait of the artist's grandmother"

I painted this portrait of my grandmother from an old photo of hers. I believe it was taken sometime in the late 1940s. I painted my grandma because I wanted to feel close to her again. The older I get the more I miss her. I wouldn't be the same person I am today if it weren't for her.

When my mother left for the States and my father was busy living his own life, my grandmother was the only person to give me a sense of direction. Not in a conventional way. She let me get away with a lot of things that she shouldn't have. She saw me as a temporarily motherless child and felt sorry for me. Regardless, my grandmother managed to teach me to be a strong woman, able to overcome any obstacles in life.

As a teenager I didn't know much about my grandmother's life before my arrival on this Earth, but as I became older and learned more details about her past I found new appreciation for the optimism she was able to maintain throughout her life of hardships. My grandmother never complained and never asked for pity. Not even when she was dying. Before she fell into a coma all she kept on repeating is how much she wanted to live. I would like to believe that I have the same thirst for life is her. I'm of her blood and her love of life runs in my veins. That's her greatest gift to me.

Only few people knew about the adversities my grandmother had the misfortune to experience in her life. Her friends and family remembered her as a strong woman who always tried to help people. The rest primarily remembered her as a very beautiful woman. I was often told that when my grandmother was younger the heads turned whenever she walked down the street. However, the people who turned their heads to sneak a peak at my stunning grandmother were only able to see her beautiful exterior for one moment, while I was given the privilege to see, remember and appreciate the beauty of her soul for all eternity.

"I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge - myth is more potent than history - dreams are more powerful than facts - hope always triumphs over experience - laughter is the cure for grief - love is stronger than death."
Robert Fulghum

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."
Mahatma Gandhi

"What does not kill me makes me stronger."
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe