Many years ago, I bought this life-sized leopard statue for my Mom to paint.
It is an extremely heavy and quite beautiful sculpture.
I really wanted to paint it myself, but I thought that maybe she’d like to paint it…this was in 1975 when the fun thing that we did after work on Fridays was to paint plaster, ceramics or wooden objects. It was fun.
I worked all day as a graphic artist, and at the end of the week, me, some friends and my sister, just enjoyed painting with acrylics on these plaster objects.
A glass of wine and a lot of laughing and joking and painting!
It was fun and relaxing!
In 1975 I would have been 22 and my mom would’ve been in her early 50s.
When it was my turn to host the Friday Night, it would be at my mom’s house, because I lived at home then.. She would see us having so much fun, and she said that she had an interest in painting along with us. My mom was a very good oil painter, and as a child I would love to watch her paint. But, as the years went by she stopped and never really did much except sometimes she would set up her paints and let them sit there.
So, I thought that this might be the perfect opportunity to get her back into her ‘art’!
Well, unfortunately, she never really started painting it, not then anyway. And when this ceramic-painting-craze was over, a year or so later, the leopard still sat there.
I would ask my mom occasionally if she wanted help painting the cat.
“No, thanks!” she’d always say.
Every once in a while she’d put paint on it and try some certain details, but she never wanted to spend time on it, and never wanted any help.
As the years went by, me and my brothers and sisters had children of our own and when the grandkids would visit they’d climb all over the life-sized leopard, even though it was no where near done and only partially painted. They loved to crawl all over this huge life sized leopard!
A few more times my mom tried again and put another type of paint-details on another section, but never finished it and never would want help.
Well, My mother passed away in 2007 and the last thing on my mind or any of my siblings was that big old leopard statue.
13 years after her passing and 45 years after I first purchased it…
…and during the 2020 pandemic, I thought about that statue and asked my one brother who moved into our family’s old house… “is that statue still around?”
He said “YES”, and would I like it?
A few days later, I had the messy, half-painted, very dirty, much-loved leopard.
I know she wanted to do the painting, and she wanted to do it alone. But, I think after 45 years, the leopard deserved some color in her life!
Now it sits here in my basement, in an area where my grandkids play. At times they climb all over the old cat! The statue is more colorful and looks a little more like a complete leopard, and every bit as loved as she was in the 70s or 80s.