Cacky, as Cathleen was known, was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and died in 2010. She was an oncology nurse and also enjoyed painting, and her husband suggested Valerie and Christine include a portrait of her with their paintings of each other.
“That was a last-minute decision,” Christine said. “We had about two weeks until the show, so I suggested it to her and she was like, let’s do it. And I really think it tied the whole show together.”
Christine worked from a photograph of her mother, which was hard to find because Cathleen was usually behind the camera and didn’t want her picture taken.
“Everyone says it really represents her,” Christine said. “I think I picked a good picture.”
People who know the Greens and attended a reception for the show on Aug. 13, burst into tears when they saw Cathleen’s portrait, Valerie said.
Valerie’s portrait of her daughter, “Studies of Cacky,” shows her playing violin, attending a class at the Garage School of Art, and talking to a paper girl, but they are preparations for a portrait rather than a finished work.
“I’m not ready to do it,” Valerie said. “You nibble away at this kind of a grief.”
Which makes Valerie all the more impressed by what Christine was able to accomplish in her own portrait of her mother.
“She has the ability to convey psychology and spirit,” Valerie said.
Christine prepared the work for this show in a burst of creative energy between the end of June and the beginning of July.
“I decided to do one new painting for the show. I sat in my attic and whipped it out in about four hours,” she said. It was a self-portrait, something she’d avoided doing for the past year.