After my last blog post, a man asked me if I still had my Keith Haring artwork? My reply was, “Of course – they are like family heirlooms. I’d end up homeless before I would sell, but at least I’ll have cool artwork in my bag lady bags.“ My mom got such a kick out of my reading his Facebook message that followed:

“I teach art history at Niagara University and also curate exhibitions. My course is contemporary art survey. We cross study culture and art, so when we get to 80s… I share the article on you and ex husband Nick, (written in late 80s ZOOM magazine) about your building a collection, knowing the artists in such a personal way, being their friends, NOT just “investors”  …and also the cross creativity between your modeling, Nick with Duran Duran, and the cultural explosion of post-modern artists of the 80s.” – Michael Beam

Julie Anne Rhodes models Keith Haring jacket for Harper's Bazaar, photographer Albert Watson

Jewels modeling Keith Haring for Harper's Bazaar, photo Albert Watson

Mom is the artist from whence my art appreciation stems. I used to hate her making me sit still for hours on end as she painted my portrait, or dragging me through every gallery and museum as a child, but it sure served me well as an adult.

Sadly, my ex and I only ever bought that one Warhol/Basquiat collaboration in that article – none of Jean Michel’s work on his own. Seeing those photos made me sad to think about that (plus Jean Michel looks so distant in them), but I did go to his show at MOCA a few years ago, and bought some posters of his work.

Julie Anne Rhodes and her Warhol-Basquiat collaboration

Me being me in front of our Warhol-Basquiat collaboration

I’m afraid a personal chef’s income does not allow me to be much of an investor these days. Sometimes I forget, and I’ll see a piece that really excites me in a gallery, and shout out “I’ll have that”. You can’t imagine how embarrassing it is to back pedal when they proceed to announce “the price is $750,000 madame – will that be check or credit card?” and I come back down to earth with an all-mighty thud.

I bought my first Warhol when I was 16. It was the first big chunk of money I ever saved up and spent on anything. I think I paid $2000.00 for the Wicked Witch from the Myth series. You can imagine how gobsmacked I was to find myself hanging out in the factory with Andy just a few years later. He was besotted with Nick, and very very sweet to me – taking us both under his wing. Both Keith and Jean Michel were there that day too. Whenever Nick and I arrived in NY, our first call was to Andy, and he would gather the posse together for a night out on the town. Those were truly magical times.

Andy Warhol's birthday at Mr. Chows in New York

Dinner with Andy and the posse for his 58th birthday at Mr. Chows

I could never sell any of my art, because that is all I have left of the people who were so dear to me. I have a terrible memory, but I am a visual person, and when I look at those pieces, my fondest memories come flooding back – how do you put a price on that? I really would choose to lose my house over selling my art.

Andy Warhol in the factory

Andy Warhol in the factory

By the way, Andy would be so angry with me for that. We once had a heated debate over my emotional attachment to art, and his propensity for viewing it strictly as a business investment. I think he gave me the pieces he did, so I would have financial security, if I needed it. I guess he didn’t realize how much more than money and fame his friendship really meant to me. I am my mother’s daughter.

Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes. Portraits by Johnnie Friedman

Julie Anne & Tatjana Rhodes. Portraits by Johnnie Friedman

I never could paint as brilliantly as my mother, although my daughter did inherit her talent. My medium is food, and I view cooking as painting with flavor. One of my mother’s favorite recipes is the rack of lamb below. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY MOM!

Please tell me in the comment box below what passions you share(d) with your mother, and how you will be celebrating (or honoring her memory) this Sunday? Come back on Sunday, and I’ll let you in on a secret!

Rack of Lamb Provencal for Mother's Day

Rack of Lamb Provencal

This deliciously aromatic combination of fresh herbs and garlic take me right back to summers in the South of France, but it also happens to be one of my mother’s favorites, so I like to make it for Mother’s Day. Of course you can substitute dried herbs, just use teaspoons instead of tablespoons. Click here to join for more recipes.

SERVINGS: 4

INGREDIENTS:

3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, chopped
2 teaspoon fresh Rosemary, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 racks of lamb
1/4 cup water or broth

Directions:

1). Preheat oven to 500° F.  Place racks of lamb in a large roasting pan, and allow them to come to room temperature for 25-30 minutes.

2). In a small bowl, mix together the 3 minced cloves of garlic, herbs and olive oil. Rub evenly all over the meat.

3). Cook in the preheated 500° F. oven for 20-35 minutes for a perfect medium rare. A meat thermometer should read 125 – 130° F, when inserted into the thickest part of the meat without touching the bone.

4). Remove from oven and allow the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes before carving. The temperature will have reached a perfect 135° F. by then, and the juice will be redistributed to keep it moist. Cut in between every other bone for nice thick chops.

SERVING SUGGESTIONS:

Serve with roasted potatoes and sauteed spinach with peppers and mushrooms.

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  • May 10, 2012
    5:35 pm

    I love this post, I read it through three times just now to absorb it all.

    Jewels, the paintings your mom did of you and T are very reminiscent of Modigliani; there’s an intensity there and the connection between her and her beautiful subjects is clearly present.

    My mother died when I was very young and I, like you, have a bad memory. But what I do remember are the times she and I spent listening to her Beatles records.

    Every time I listen to them I’m instantly transported back to a much simpler time.

    Reply
    • May 11, 2012
      4:09 am

      I never thought of Modigliani when I looked at that portrait of me as a child before, but I do see it now – thanks Jodi. I just remember feeling very ootsy, wanting to go outside and play while she was painting it. Now I’m so glad she made me sit still.

      The Beatles remind me of my grandmother Ellie. She made a point of my watching them with her on the Ed Sullivan show when I was four – one of my earliest memories.

      Reply
      • May 11, 2012
        6:17 am

        The last time Merrill and I were in London there was a Modigliani and his Models exhibit that blew us away completely.

        There were some pieces where the subject appeared to stare right back into our own eyes, very intense, very emotional.

        Your mom’s style is very similar.

        Your mom adores you so much to paint you the way she did. It must have been excruciating at that young age to sit still, but the love she feels for you just emanates off the picture. It’s so evident.

        You witnessed an amazing piece of Beatles history and I’m jealous, lol!!

        Isn’t it completely amazing how The Beatles touched so many lives in so many ways? Almost everyone I speak to can tie a loving memory to a Beatles song or event.

  • May 10, 2012
    2:13 pm

    My mom is an opera singer. Growing up, our home was filled with music of all kinds ~ jazz, Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Hawaiian music. My mom and I share a passion for musicals & musical theater! She took me to my 1st musical when I was 5 – and we go whenever we can. I would love to take her to NYC for a Broadway show or 4 :)

    Reply
  • May 10, 2012
    10:20 pm

    Jewels,

    I cannot tell you how much I loved this post. It is brilliant. Your passion for art, cooking, dear friends and fond times are evident in this post as in all of your posts. Thank you for sharing yourself and your life in your words, food and and by your radiance. Though my Mother passed 15 years ago I will think of her fondly with much love on Sunday. Happy Mother’s Day to you, yours and all the Moms here.

    ~K
    xoxo

    Reply
    • May 11, 2012
      4:14 am

      I think this Mother’s Day is especially poignant for me this year, because mom just went through two surgeries last week. I won’t lie, I was very nervous, but thankfully she is doing really well.

      Reply
  • May 10, 2012
    4:00 pm

    Music is one of the most powerful of the arts to share in common – that’s brilliant! I hope you do get to see a Broadway musical together one day soon.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    10:06 am

    My favourite memory is of the two of us wearing matching aprons and baking cookies. Yellow and purple pansies on a white background with yellow piping all around the apron. We didn’t get too many opportunities to bake after that day, mum had heart problems and died a year later whilst having surgery. But, her memory lives on! Every time I bake, I think about her and her wonderful cookies. Hey Mum, I’m baking for my boys this week and could use your inspiration. I’m thinking banoffee pie will be on the menu along with the requisite brownies and cookies. Mum would approve. :)

    Reply
    • May 11, 2012
      1:18 pm

      That is precisely why these memories are so important and poignant, Ruthee – we remember them for a lifetime. You described those cookies so vividly I could see little Ruthee and her mom baking them together, and almost smell them!

      Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    3:14 am

    I love this post. I love art and have always loved Warhol since I was a kid. When I was 12 I was inspired by his can of soup to make a 3 foot 3D Lipton Tea Bag, bag, string, label and all. My mom hated it…Still does. When I moved back in to care for her she asked “does that tea bag have to come?” ;)

    My mom and I do not share the same taste in art but I feel I am the lucky of her four children to learn to sew from her. She started me sewing at 4 years old. By the time I was 14 years old I was designing and making bridal gowns in her shop. I made a dress similar to your gowns silhouette for many women for their special day. Since then, my mother retired and closed her store. I recently decided to opened my own little online embroidery company and she is helping me sew the products and inventory. I didn’t ask her for the help, she just kidnapped some of my fabric and started sewing. It has been decades of sewing and creating with my mother and I have loved and appreciated every minute of it.

    Funny thing…While my mother hates my Lipton tea bag I got inspired to make a 18″ 3D rose a few years ago and she LOVES it. Hmmm, think it might be the subject? lol

    Happy Mother’s day to all those that are mothers and have mothers to love and appreciate. =)

    Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    4:16 am

    “I didn’t ask her for the help, she just kidnapped some of my fabric and started sewing. It has been decades of sewing and creating with my mother and I have loved and appreciated every minute of it.” – It is such a joy to hear all the interesting ways we connect with our mothers, and how we will remember them fondly forever.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    6:45 am

    I share a passion for literature with mom. She is an extraordinary reader, and I remember she introducing me to the masters of world literature when I was just a child. She tried to explain the charm of “parallel worlds” that were available in books, and i was so fascinated that I got reading as a sort of obsession. And I remember the my mother proudly discussing with me about novels that we shared, as we were friends. Literature and cinema still links each other with a very special bond. Thanks for having shared your memories and “evoked” ours. Have a special Mother’s day!

    Reply
    • May 11, 2012
      1:14 pm

      Thank you for evoking more fond memories for me too – I think I must have made my mother read Harry the Dirty Dog to me at least five times a night when I was little!

      Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    11:26 am

    My mother and I have shared such a bond over music. I can’t tell you how many times we would sit and listen to songs in the car and we would always both end up crying. My mother absolutely loves Elvis, and I inherited that love from her too. I’m not a fanatic, but for her 50th birthday, I took her to Graceland. I could not imagine sharing that with anyone else and it was truly a dream come true for her too. We also LOVE to garden. I so enjoy watching my children help her plant her flowers every year in the same beds that I helped her with when I was growing up. I have so much pride for my yard from what she instilled in me. Love my Mom!

    Reply
    • May 11, 2012
      1:24 pm

      I took my mom to see Frank Sinatra at Radio City Music Hall in New York many years ago – I’ll never forget seeing the adoring teenager dance across her face as she watched him – it gave me SUCH a thrill to see. I know Tatjana felt the same way when she got her father to surprise me with tickets to see Prince in Vegas a few years back – she was dumbstruck that anyone could reduce her mother to a dancing maniac. Your find memories spark so many in me as well!

      I’ve been wanting to do a road trip of the deep South with Graceland as a highlight for years now – I’m going to try to swing it next time Tatjana comes home with her boyfriend after reading your comment, Dana.

      Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    12:22 pm

    The thing that I value most from my mother is her quiet strength and unconditional love. I was the dreamy, shy kid with her head in the clouds, daydreaming, reading, listing to music, anything to escape. My mom is down to earth to a FAULT. She was (and still is) the glue that holds our family together. She may not have agreed with me all the time, but there was never any doubt in my mind that my mother loved me, believed in me, and wanted me to succeed, no matter what.

    Watching her now, I am incredibly grateful that my daughter gets to experience that same kind of unconditional love from my mom. (And hopefully, if I’m doing it right, from me too!)

    Hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day!

    Reply
    • May 11, 2012
      1:25 pm

      I KNOW your doing it right too Cheryl. You all never cease to amaze me over your skillful parenting skills I hear about in the cyber living room!

      Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    12:49 pm

    My parents were divorced, and my dad took sole custody of me, by the time I was 8 months old. I didn’t “officially” meet my mom until I was 6. Although I was a bit confused and guarded, I immediately fell head over heels in love with her. There is definitely a magical attachment between mothers and their children, even when there isn’t an opportunity for traditional early bonding. She was so effortlessly beautiful, so cheery, so fun and open minded. We definitely shared a passion for music. She had “her” bands that she was fanatic about, as did I. She let me wallpaper my bedroom with 100′s of posters, she brought me every single teeny bopper magazine each month and even brought me care packages of music magazines and CD’s once I’d moved out and was living on my own. :) One of my favorite memories of her (sadly, she passed away at the age of 48) is that every Saturday night she would make a deep, cooshie, blanket-bed on the living room floor, and we’d stay up late watching back to back episodes of The Twilight Zone. It was also her birthday May 10th. I really miss her…

    Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    1:30 pm

    I’m sobbing as I read this Kim – your love for her, and hers for you is tangible. Having a non traditional relationship with my own daughter, the closeness we share in spite of physical distance, and knowing how there has never been a day I haven’t longed to be with her – I totally get the bond you are speaking about. It warms my soul to read this.

    Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    6:10 pm

    First, I laughed when I read your quote “end up homeless before I would sell, but at least I’ll have cool artwork in my bag lady bags“– I use a similar phrase with my fiancé when discussing finances, “I might be sitting in a gutter homeless, but I’ll have my art!” I would have LOVED an “artsy” mom growing up…my poor mother used to say she couldn’t even draw a stick figure…but at least she always made sure that I had exposure to “artsy” adults in my life. I remember constantly going over to other people’s homes to draw, paint, decorate cakes, etc. with my mom’s friends. I think she saw my “potential” and had to figure out a way to develop it in spite of her own lack of “art talent.” I remember winning a first place ribbon in an art show when I was 4 years old and I think my mom was more excited than I was!

    My mom…I could have been a perfect kid and I STILL wouldn’t have deserved her. She knew me better than anyone…and loved me anyway. She let me be myself, ALWAYS. No matter how kooky or crazy she thought something I did…said…or wore was…she always let ME be ME…and never ever suggested in ANY way that I should change. She encouraged me to CELEBRATE being “different” than others…and she always found me the perfect birthday card or bookmark with just the right saying…as a reminder to keep marching to my own drummer.

    She loved to tell the story about the day she was having coffee with a friend…and I came racing by them on my way outside. I was about 3 or 4 years old, and apparently had dressed myself… in a green & pink striped top with red and blue flowered pants. My mom’s friend said, “Barbara, are you going to let her go OUTSIDE like that?” My mom just shrugged her shoulders said, “Who’s SHE hurting?” – I loved her for that.

    I think my mom accepted me so much because she was a kook too…oh…she LOOKED normal on the outside…but deep inside…she was crazy…and FUN!!! I guess that’s really the only thing we had in common…and I guess that’s where I get it. In fact, the first time my boss met my mom she told me, “Your mom is so NORMAL looking…I thought she’d look like Phyllis Diller or something!”

    I lost my mom over 4 years ago, and my heart cries for her every day. I’ve had some tumultuous times since her passing, and wish she was still just a phone call away. I know my mom would not want me to be sad, and with the strong faith that she instilled in me I am getting through it. My mom was amazingly kind to EVERYONE, and had selfless generosity. She had an ENORMOUS heart…filled with compassion and empathy. She treated people with dignity no matter WHO they were…and genuinely cared about everyone. It’s ironic that in the end it was her heart that failed her…because it was her heart that drove her EVERY act throughout her life….

    If there is one thing I got from her besides her “crazy” – I hope it is her empathy. I try to be the person she raised me to be and carry on her legacy of being kind. I wish that everyone could have known my mom, because everyone who did loved her so much. But I know that I have not lost all of the things that I loved most about her…they are inside me!!! I can carry them WITH me for the rest of my life…the best parts of her live on…in ME.

    This was the closing in my mom’s eulogy…if only everyone could live the way my mom believed:
    Be KIND to each other…show people that you CARE…look for things to compliment people about and TELL them about them! Give thanks, give praise…GIVE BLOOD!!! GIVE GIVE GIVE all you can to others…give to whatever charity you want…or to the homeless person you are about to walk by…hold the door for someone, leave a BIG tip to a frustrated waitress, buy ten rolls of Christmas wrap from the kid next door so he can get a prize at school…do ANYTHING…no matter HOW small, just to make a difference in someone’s life…ESPECIALLY when they least expect it!!! And if you can do it anonymously IT’S EVEN BETTER!!!! Do something…everyday…JUST to make someone’s life a little brighter…

    My mom…would WANT you to ;-)

    Reply
  • May 11, 2012
    6:26 pm

    And GIVE you just did! Thank you for sharing the beautiful memories, sharing such wise words…

    ” But I know that I have not lost all of the things that I loved most about her…they are inside me!!! I can carry them WITH me for the rest of my life…the best parts of her live on…in ME.”

    … and encouraging us all to live by your words in her eulogy. She is STILL giving (through you) today!

    Reply
  • May 12, 2012
    8:41 am

    My mom and I are very opposite in most ways. She will let people walk all over her and keep giving and never say a word. I am guilty of letting people do that too from time to time but if pushed an inch too far, a wicked temper which I am never able to keep in check comes out. She brought me to art galleries as a child, taught me to cook and bake from an early age and that home made is best. The minute I saw my first Culture Club video, I was smitten and rebelled against any kind of normal clothing or make up which horrified her to no end. I’d have to get ready at school most times and got ready to go home again so she didn’t see the make up or earrings or clothes I’d had on that day. Whereas she had been a well behaved girl that did what her parents said without question, I was the opposite. I gave them a lot of hassle but the constant was the love I received. Even when I dyed my hair bright red one summer, she was furious but got over it… eventually. LOL

    Now when I get a few colours in my hair she will just smile and say it looks good or that I look like I am about 16 again. We both learned to tone it down LOL

    Reply
  • May 12, 2012
    3:42 am

    Lovely blog Jewels. Like Eldwenne, I too read it a few times. I am also loving the comments that have come through not to mention the tears I cannot control right now.
    My fondest memories of my mum is helping her bake European cakes and biscuits as a child and into my early teens. Not to mention her famous crepes which had everyone (still does) coming back for more. I guess that is why I love baking even to this day. My
    neighbours on either side of me love me too as they are forever getting my treats each time I make them.
    Wish I could pass them through to everyone in cyber land.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2012
    8:10 am

    Aren’t the comment wonderful? So much love pouring out, and such a great way to honor our mothers whether they are still physically here or not – they are always a part of us.

    Reply
  • May 12, 2012
    4:25 pm

    I am so blessed to be your friend and get to see your collection in person. I feel like I’m going into a museum whenever I come over! Treasure your treasurers, and you can always move in with us and bring your art with you if that were to ever happen! :) hehe

    Reply
  • May 13, 2012
    9:01 pm

    My mom and I have always been very close. She was always there for us since they day(s) my sister and I were born. My earliest memories are of my family traveling the country (we drove from Michigan to California when I was 3 and came down to Florida every year since I was 6 months old, before moving down permanently when I was 13). Whatever school function or extra activity we were into, mom was there (field trips, Girl Scouts, dance class, music recitals, birthday parties, softball games, school plays, etc.). Our classmates all loved her as well. We each had our own special interests and she divided her time and attention to accommodate us both, unconditionally.

    As many know by now, my mom and I have also always shared a love for dark, offbeat entertainment – namely classic monster horror films, TV shows, Halloween and anything, well.. spooky! A sense of fun we both inherited from my grandmother (she started it!). In honor of that, my mom and I celebrated this Mother’s Day with a cool but creepy double-feature … The Raven and Dark Shadows (which she loved)! A fitting topper to a fun-filled day of relaxing, shopping, dining, loving and laughing. xo

    Reply

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