Pictures from the Past: sketches by my mother

Before I wrote, I drew pictures. It runs in the family. My ability and my style both came from my mother, and my sister and I both loved flipping through her old sketchbooks when we were kids.

Most of those books have been lost during the years (and moves) since then, but my sister does have thirteen pages of Mom’s drawings, and she recently scanned them so we’d have copies to keep. I thought I’d show y’all a few of them. None are dated, but I think most may pre-date marriage and children (mostly because I have more memories of seeing her reading than sketching–I got that from her, too).

My mom was legally blind, and had almost no formal art training. In light of that, I wholeheartedly agree with my sister’s comment that “(A)s bad as her eyesight was, I always marveled at my mom’s ability to show perspective and her attention to detail.”

Given the subject matter of this one, we think it may have been drawn during her Catholic-school years (she graduated high school in 1947).
"The Annunciation," undated sketch by Mary Ann Corsino
This may be a later drawing (possibly from the 1960’s or even the ’70’s), based on the lighter pencil strokes. I don’t know whether it was due to her declining vision, having less time to work on her art, or something else, but my impression is that her style became more tentative over time.
pseudo-portrait, undated sketch by Mary Ann Corsino Lantos

My sister commented “I find it interesting that my mother, who was an introvert, drew a lot of party and social pictures.” I suspect some of them were meant as illustrations of scenes from books she read (but I may be projecting, because I liked to draw those). I think the color may have been added later, and she doesn’t seem to have gotten around to finishing it.
social scene, undated sketch by Mary Ann Corsino Lantos
This one seems unfinished, but what’s completed is so beautifully detailed; I think it’s my favorite of the bunch.
undated sketch by Mary Ann Corsino Lantos

Thanks to Teresa for scanning Mom’s drawings and sending them to me, providing both an archive record and blog fodder. And just in case you were going to ask: My old sketchbooks are lost to…somewhere, so I doubt you’ll be seeing any of my drawings here. Hers are better anyway, trust me. Besides, these days, I’d rather take pictures than draw them.

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