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Artist: Cowgirl Depicts Her Mother's Strength During Double Mastectomy

Meryl Spiegel explains what her art is all about.

"On Tuesday, Patch featured a watercolor by Mary Van Deusen, of Flanders, who is a member of the East End Arts Council, and asked readers what they thought of it in a series we call, First Impressions.

The following is what readers had to say:

• Michelle LaWall Vargas said via Facebook, "Rancher holding some type of bird ????"

•wrote, "There is something a little "ominous" about the image (sorry). While the left side is bright and the background softly textured, the dark disorder on the upper right sweeps across her eyes and into the brightness. Is she foreseeing the darkness over her shoulder?"

said, "A sultry, sexy, strong woman."

wrote, "This reminds me of my daughter and her horse. It reflects the brightness (on the left) she feels with him , and on the right the outside rest of the world conflicts she can only escape when out riding."

said, "Yes, she gazes over the withers of her first love.. Her horse."

The Artist's Turn

Van Deusen said that at the time of creating the painting, her mom was on her mind.

"She was undergoing a double mastectomy and I was waiting for news from the doctors," said Van Deusen. "I was painting with no particular plan at the time, just watercolor sketches, but then the cowgirl emerged."

Van Deusen says her mother is the strongest woman she's ever known and came through the surgery.

Van Deusen said when her mother saw the painting she said it should be framed.

"She liked the sense of mystery in the cowgirl’s face. Were it not for Mom, the cowgirl might still be stuffed in a pile in the studio. Thanks, Mom," said Van Deusen.

Editor's Note: First Impressions is curated by East Quogue artist Meryl Spiegel. If you would like to be a part of this series, e-mail Erica.Jackson@Patch.com.

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