“Julia” by Joan Margaret Anderson (my Dear Mum) – copyright 2015. “Half of what I say is meaningless.” (Lennon).

Painting by my mother, Joan Margaret Anderson (her birth name).


My mother (Joan) is now 89 with full-blown Alzheimer’s. She doesn’t seem to know who I am these days, but she has some inkling that we are connected, I feel. The pic of us together was taken in the nursing home in Bundaberg. I can probably put my love of art down to Mum’s genes, and her encouragement all my life.

Encouragement with everything I have done, or tried. I still have a prize winning drawing I did age 6, thanks to Mum. She kept a whole glut of my stuff, as mothers do. I have most of it – drawings and stories, from age 6 on. When I was a wee lad in England. Oh, the prize. It was for best drawing in my class, so I was awarded a big fat black drawing pencil (yes, just one). I can still see it now. It was really fat, I was impressed. My winning pic (traffic lights) is below also (1958).

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My Dear Mum and me. May 2015.

I have only recently noticed some similarity in my style, to Mum’s. Particularly when I do drawings – the bright colours, and definite outlines. I have no idea what she called this painting, but I called it “Julia” long ago. When I first saw it, it reminded me of The Beatles’ (Lennon) song of the same name: “seashell eyes … windy smile… calls me . . .”

Now, when I visit my mother, Lennon’s eerie lyric enters my head at times, “Half of what I say is meaningless . . . but I say it just to reach you . . .” It is a good day when I think my Mum has understood, and mumbles some words that make sense, to what I have said.

I can’t remember when Mum painted this (acrylic on canvas). But it is at least 30 years old. Mum didn’t do a lot of art.  But she was always ‘about to do some art.’ Alas, She was too busy with life, and bringing up two boys on her own. So glad I have managed not to lose this work, during my many house moves, and one flood. One of her few paintings, and I absolutely love it. She was an avid writer of fiction and writing in general, too. A natural writer. Love you Mum.

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My drawing of traffic lights that Mumsy treasured for decades. She finally presented me with all my childhood artworks when I was maybe in my 30s.

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