Mary Mona Love Jarman

I came to know this awesome woman by being adopted by her. Through difficult circumstances, I was taken from my natural family and before I was put up for adoption this woman found me while I was in the hospital. I immediately took to her and she to me. And eventually I became an official Jarman family member to which I am totally grateful for.

From the rough start I had in life I had to have 5 surgeries on my leg. All were done in Illinois where I was from except for one. We had moved from the then small town of Champaign, Illinois to the big city - New York City. So my next to last surgery was in NYC. I was 7 at the time. Unfortunately I was given way too much anesthesia and wasn't waking up. Mom stayed by my side for most of the time praying for me to awaken. But she realized she had not a face to put to the name of the man she was praying to. So she decided to take a break and go to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to find a painting of this man, Jesus.

She walked through all of the paintings and couldn't find one that looked like the man she pictured. And quite frankley, she didn't think the ones she found were very good. She felt she could do better.

She purchased some oil paints and a canvas board. She got out Kleenex and a corset stay from one of her old corsets. With those tools and her fingers she painted her first oil painting. From there she went on to paint a wide variety of sizes of paintings - from 2' x 4' down to 2" x 1". The smallest ones were painted on pine board sanded down by Moi. Then she stained them, added a pretty hook to attach it to a chain. She painted on both sides, varnished it and sold them as mini-flips. She had other sizes too she called minis, midis and maxis. These came along at the time dress lengths were called the same.

She took painting lessons from a man called Art Keys and got very discouraged after a while as she was painting like him. He told her to stop and look at the canvas and paint whatever she wanted to in whatever style came to her. She ended up painting with a pallet knife and chose subjects of Covered Bridges, Old Farms Buildings and Golden Woods. There is one painting of a covered bridge with a small child fishing nearby. That child was me. However, in the painting that child became a boy because she said she just couldn't get the hair right.

She started to sell her work at the art shows which used to be held in Greenich Village, NY. Here is where an owner of an art store, Moorhouse Barlow, saw her work and asked if he could sell some of her work. He also had her on a couple of occasions paint a painting while in the front window of the store.

In the later years she gave art lessons. She even tried to teach me when I was 10. I painted a picture quite happily and left it on the easel in the kitchen to dry. When her art students came they saw the painting and immediately started to compliment Mom on painting a pretty one. I have not painted since. Call it the "Art Keys Complex".

If Mom had me naturally, she would have been about 38. Therefore, she started painting at about the age of 45. She passed away at the age of 54 of pancreatic cancer. She didn't have a long time for painting, but what she painted was beautiful. And even though I haven't tried to paint since - I have taken what she taught me of the art and applied the Love for all life to my photography. I owe my life to her and have taken what she taught me and passed it on to my girls. I hope in turn, they will pass this love and respect of all life on to their children from day one.