Life brought me back to the question of motherhood with more urgency. This time, I answered differently.

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Photo by Julia Hembree Smith

I lowered myself onto the bench in front of a painting layered with swirls of muted sepia tones. It was happening again. I noticed spotting when I wiped in the bathroom minutes ago. Would I lose this one, too? People buzzed around me at the Barbican as I sat silent and still. I stared at the artwork in front of me. Painted by Lee Krasner in the midst of her dance with grief, the piece was part of The Umber Paintings series.

The series of works was created in the years following the passing of Lee’s mother and the death of her husband, who was killed in 1956 after driving drunk with his lover at his side. It seemed Lee’s way of wrestling with loss and the insomnia that came with it: she stayed up late into the night painting canvases under artificial light, the muted brown shades less harsh on her eyes. …


Tina Essmaker

Motherless mother writing about the grief we live through and how we thrive on the other side. https://tinaessmaker.com

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