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Mother Courage
Mother Courage

Kaja Montgomery
acrylic and collage on wood
16" x 12" 2013


For my next painting I wanted to do one more positive and forward thinking. One night after a rough day, I picked an angel card and received Courage. It described building a shield around yourself to protect yourself from negativity. I struggled with an image for several days. At first I envisioned a metal shield like a soldier, that I held with one arm and with the other arm I tucked Ethan and Jordan behind me. I tried some drawings but could not get the body with the intensity I wanted. Then I saw myself kneeling supporting a shield of curved light. This led to the warrior stance of the painting, pushing the negativity out. I was going to collage and then do a purple colour wash over it. In the collage, I was braver in using our wedding photo. Not caring about disguising it. I did not have purple paint, so I began to mix colours. They were darker then I wanted. I added white. In the end, the collage was basically covered with pieces lifting up. It resonated with me. I am putting the past behind me. Underneath, beyond the protective light, the past is trying to push up. The bubble came from a Dora book I read with Ethan. Unicornio stamped his feet and placed a shield around him and Dora to protect them from the dragon. The picture showed the shield like a bubble around them. This cemented my image for my shield as a bubble of light that protects me from all sides. I needed to have Jordan and Ethan inside the shield with me. I have taken this painful journey for them. Ethan, my baby still, at almost 5 years old, is completely sheltered under my legs. Jordan, already so perceptive and mature at almost 10 is in front with me. I know he would want to help me strengthen the shield. I try to hold this painting in my head and heart, when I feel discouraged and sad.

Kaja Montgomery
March 2013

This is one of my favourite paintings. It captures how much energy it took to drive away the ugliness that threatened to engulf me. I hang it in my bedroom and it reminds me of how far I have come and what I have been able to do. I still need that courage. The words pushing at the shield: Anger, Panic, Bitterness, Defeat, Frustration and Worry continue to surface, though less often than they did 2 years ago.

Kaja Montgomery
February 5, 2015




Mississauga, Ontario, Canada