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Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd, South
Fort Myers, FL 33965-6565
(239) 590-1000 or (800) 590-3428



Senior Project APRIL 2017

Madre Mia was inspired from my own stories and experiences with motherhood. Motherhood has existed for as long as mankind has been around. It is defined as the state or experience of having or raising a child. The day I discovered I was expecting was one of the scariest and also most blessed surprises of my life. The experience of that day opened a whole world full of questions that I had never given much thought about. What would I name my child? What would he or she be like? Would they love me? The question that gave me the most thought was, what kind of mother did I want to be for my child? I decided to use my role model to answer this particular question, my mother. I used my experiences and the stories of my childhood with my mom to help guide me to be the kind of mother I wanted for my child. My mother also used her mother to decide what kind of mother she wanted to be for me and my grandmother did the same for my mother. From their stories, I discovered that basic needs and nurturing in motherhood changes within each generation due to experiences, society, and the culture around us.

Madre Mia is a series of narrative paintings inviting the viewer to experience the stories of the females in my life who have been influenced in one way or another by motherhood. Each painting is of a different generation, with each their own story of motherhood.  Mil Novecientos Cuarenta y Cinco is of my grandmother who was raised by my great grandmother with very little money and in a culture where working to keep food on the table was a necessity so working came first. The children were part of the working force. There was little family time except on Fridays, payday, when they all went on a trip to the grocery store. Mil Novecientos Setenta y Tres is of my mother who was also raised in a poor socio-economic situation but better than the generation before her. She wanted us to focus on school, academics, and after-school activities that other children my age were involved. She required us to have chores which taught us the meaning of work but did not require us to work in order to get food on the table. Mil Novecientos Noventa y Uno is a self-portrait. I am in a similar socio-economic situation as my mom. My main priority is to teach my child the values of being a good person and to follow her dreams. I strive to provide the opportunities that will allow her to stay focused and successful in school.  Dos Mil Trece is of my daughter who is mimicking mothering through role playing with her dolls. She is reflecting her experiences based on my methods of mothering.

When gathering my thoughts about producing my series, I really wanted to know the stories of the women I was going to paint. I started out by asking my grandmother, my mother, and myself a series of questions about the experiences we had with our mothers. I used these stories to help determine the poses and the props for each painting.  Then I took a series of photos to use as reference for my paintings. In these photographs I used a single spot light which created a chiaroscuro-like effect. Chiaroscuro is a painting technique, developed during the Renaissance period, that uses strong tonal contrasts between light and dark to model three-dimensional forms often resulting in a dramatic effect. This technique allowed me to capture the emotions of motherhood I was striving for in my series.