Model Mother-in-Law

May/June 1999

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Model Mother-in-Law

Courtesy the Health Library at Stanford

When Greg Brown set out to paint this mural at the new site of Stanford's Health Library, he had a scene in mind. He just needed a model -- and that's where his mother-in-law came in. "I don't wear my hair anything like that, but he surely captured my face," laughs Virginia Whittington Weber, of Palo Alto. She plays the caring advice-giver in the mural, which brightens an outdoor wall at Stanford Shopping Center. The artist used a bear to avoid depicting human suffering too literally. He originally wanted to paint a grumpy grizzly, but shopping center officials feared confusion with the Cal mascot and instead suggested a martian or a unicorn. That's when Brown conceived the gentle, hulking polar bear, who listens mutely to Mom's advice.

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