Untitled (Grandma Norma)

This piece is a work I did in the spring of 2007 for a drawing class. The assignment was to make something private public, with dimensions of at least four by four feet. I chose to do a project on my grandmother, who I was very close to and who’d died just before I left to start college. I discovered as I worked that I had never really dealt with her death; upon arriving at Williams, I’d immediately become swept up in a new life and had buried the emotions I’d felt.

The work thus served as both a reincarnation and a memorial, and it ended up being a way for me to reconcile myself to the fact that she was, truly, gone. The portraits, which are done in charcoal, pastel, and pencil, are all done from photographs of her.

The text deals alternately with her life and with my reactions to her death. Much of the latter is taken from the journal that I was keeping the summer she died.

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