Intergenerational: An Occasional
Series on Relationships Between Children and Grandparents
Leah Gittelman is a
freshman at Bucknell. During her first week of classes she
sent her grandmother, artist Marilyn Weiss in New York City,
an essay she wrote on “something
I respond to aesthetically.” “Hey Nana,” she
wrote, “hope you enjoy it. I love you.”
It is the intricate
layers of paper that draw me to my grandmother’s painting.
Each hand-made piece of paper placed ever so carefully in
each location make the painting what it is. She puts a countless
variety of papers into her work. Ranging from simple solid
paper to acrylic painted, from numerous fabrics to ones with
photo transfers, each paper has a “Nana flair.” No
material is placed on the painting without intense thought about
the best spot for it.
I can see scattered
around the painting my face as well as my brother’s. From infancy to now you can
see us growing up right in front of you. The painting is not
just a photo album. The pictures are in no specific sequence
and hold no more value than the next. They each are unique
and special in their own way. What makes my Nana’s painting
so difficult to describe, when made to explain at great detail,
is that one cannot “nit-pick” or disassemble the
painting. One must simply admire it for the big picture and
then first begin to see its smaller entities.
Each painting can stand
alone, strong and magnificent. Capturing the viewer’s
eye, forcing it to notice layer upon layer of colors, fabrics,
and paper. Soon you see the pictures hidden in the array
of various mediums.
The pictures allow the person to learn a little
about the artist. For me seeing the pictures, each strong in
their individuality, gives me a feeling of closeness to my
grandmother. However, any person who takes even a second to
look at her paintings can instantly feel a connection to her.
As soon as I stop
crying I will show this to the world. You make me so proud
of you and so proud of what you think of me. I love you so
much and I’m so thrilled that
you love me like that too. You make me feel young, and that
we can relate so completely. That’s quite a gift you
give me everyday. I love you always.#
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