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Michael James Freedman

Mother & Daughter on New Year's Eve

Mother & Daughter on New Year's Eve

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In Brooklyn, you'll often see a mother and daughter walking together down the street, talking animatedly. I can tell that they are mother and daughter because they look alike and share some features, but it's not obvious what these essential features are. As an artist who is working on portraiture, I try to quantify the similarities. It can be their gait, facial features, voice, etc.

There is something that's just so beautiful about this relationship.

As an outsider (neither a mother or a daughter) looking in, I feel there is something mysterious and close about the relationship, words unstated, feelings communicated with a glance, that is difficult to quantify, but apparent just the same. I'm starting on a series to try to capture this, both the relationship and the family resemblance.

This painting is from my family's New Year's celebration.

The pandemic is raging, but we're safe, and we're celebrating at home. We're happy, but worried, looking forward hopefully to a new and hopefully better year, but also relieved to have made it through 2020. I think the looks on the faces of my wife and my daughter are telling. We can celebrate, but not with abandon. We can dress up, but there's nowhere to go.

It's a moment in time. 

I'm hoping that the pandemic will be behind us soon, and we'll look at paintings like these as historical artifacts, like those Absinthe drinkers of Degas. It's a time when we want to celebrate, to let loose, but we just can't because of the worry and all the suffering around us.


This original painting is 24" x 18" gouache on watercolor paper.

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