Thursday, February 23, 2012

Elaine's journey

A year has come and gone since my last post about Chuwy (aka Ghost). Shortly after that post, my mother Elaine Kryzanowski was diagnosed with lung cancer. Since that time, my life has been blessed with incredible moments, people and opportunities for self-discovery. In the next few blogs, I hope to share some of those amazing experiences and lessons.

(this is my mother, Elaine at her last art show..she was 80)

Cancer is one of those diagnosis that sends people reeling..
My mom never smoked a day in her life..but as a young woman, she did work in a small office where she was exposed to 8 hours of second hand smoke. She also worked in a factory, where they used solvents to clean the components they manufactured. Perhaps of greater significance, though, is the fact that my mother, Elaine, grew up in a Canadian paper mill town ..where the air was tainted with particles of commerce generated pollution. Unfortunately, the source of her cancer is and will remain a mystery.

My greatest admiration for Elaine stemmed from her creative talent. Rainy afternoons spent at our cabins morphed into art lessons.

(the cabins my dad and uncle built on Rainy Lake, NW Ontario)

Occasionally, on those rainy days, we talked our mother into drawing paper dolls for us. As the rain dampened the pine needles outside of the cabin doors, we sat cross legged on the wooden floors describing the physical attributes we wanted our paper dolls to possess. With her pencil flying over the paper, my mom transformed our words into elegant models. Once we had our paper dolls, we would spend hours designing outfits for them to wear.
I was always most enthralled with their lifelike..even down to their fingernails.

My mom was a self taught artist. She believed by studying the techniques used by masters such as Johan Vermeer that she could teach herself how to oil paint when they lived on Seine River, NW Ontario.This is her rendition of that famous painting The Milkmaid

Later when she retired, mom had the time to explore her artistic talents again and for over 30 years, she devoured every aspect of painting.

to be continued....


  1. She did amazing work. I love the bottom one of the old indian woman.

  2. Beautiful memories. How fortunate you are to have her paintings. Hanging on your cabin walls, they will serve as your Mom's artistic spirit, surrounding you with love.
    Thank you for sharing her with us.

  3. Wow! What a beautiful tribute to your mom & what amazing paintings & memories.

  4. How lovely to remember her like this- I'm so impressed at your decision to write this. My own mother passed away when she was just 39 (similarly from lung cancer although like your mother she was a non smoker too), so I know how hard it is but it is so important to remember them.

    What a beautiful woman and a beautiful artist.

  5. This was beautiful. I love the story about your mother making the paper dolls.

  6. So enjoyed reading about your mom! Putting your thoughts and memories on paper is so important. My father was an artist, and all of us "kids" have his paintings hanging in our homes. I especially love having his paint brushes and art tools displayed in the crocks he used to contain them.

    I look forward to reading more about your amazing mom!

  7. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing this wonderful memory of your Mom. I especially love the paper dolls.

  8. beautiful memories...beautiful art...and with that smile, you could tell she was a beautiful person to have must have been wonderful to live with such a creative soul...will be checking back to hear more.

  9. it is amazing just how close your mother and mine were in their backgrounds.

    I remember a conversation with my mother about some paper dolls she had painted as a child... after she died, we found them and they were amazing. She passed of COPD complications.

    Thank you Patti for sharing your stories of love with us all!

    1. Our mothers are our first and most influential teachers...
      thanks for sharing Elaine's beautiful paintings.

    2. mom was shy in many ways..but when she talked about art..she came alive and much more confident...

      It's been SO cool to be able to give her friends and members of our family her little "practice" paintings..spreading the love from Canada to Colorado to California..