Monday, June 07, 2010

Broken Nest, Decision Portrait


(Above: Broken Nest, Decision Portrait Series. Stitched words: Threw an unruly child OUT. Xylene photo transfer on tea-stained muslin. 25" x 19" unframed; 31" x 25" framed. Hand stitched and beaded. Click on image to enlarge.)

Some decisions are particularly difficult. When facing them, none of the options are really desirable. Years later, the decision still is unsettling.....but had to be made. These are the bittersweet choices that life seems to dole out....often to the nicest, most understanding, and compassionate people. This is one of those decisions.


(Above: Broken Nest, detail. Click on image to enlarge.)

As an artist, I've been looking for people to share these sorts of painful decisions. It took several email messages and some gentle urging to stitch this portrait. I stressed how it would touch many people. It would let other mother's with difficult kids know they're not alone. We corresponded about the title and the words because, as harsh as the truth is, the portrait needs to carry a message of hope, love, and a sense of the complexities involved. I think the results do just that.


(Above: Broken Nest, detail.)

The wonderful lady who reluctantly shared this decision and I have several things in common. She threw an unruly child out of her house. She had to do it. She didn't want to do it. The memory of it haunts her. Loving such a child is very, very difficult. I know. I, too, am the mother of a difficult child. It's been over two years since my younger son defiantly left home. He's an uninsured, unemployed high school drop out. I don't know where he lives but he recently got my business logo, (Mouse House....just imagine....a "mouse" depicted on the outline of a "house") tattooed on his leg. Both of us have suffered the inevitable "What if I'd done this?" and "Was I the worst mother on earth?" sort of mental questioning. Both of us are familiar with the concept of a "broken nest". She gives me hope though. There's been a reconciliation in her family....but things will never be the same.



We have something else in common. We both are firm believers in Julia Cameron 's The Artist's Way. We believe that serendipity actively plays a role in our lives. It played a role in this portrait too. When corresponding about the title and words for this portrait, my parents visited.....and brought the dove feathers they'd found in the woods around their home. Perfect detail at the perfect time! The day I finished the portrait, my artistic mentor (whose studio is just around the hall from mine) insisted I come outside to see the baby birds that were under the nearby scrubs......three doves! I always share the finished portraits with each participant before posting here on my blog. This is what she wrote back: "I do so believe in the serendipity of life. Doves have been frequenting my house this summer in large numbers!"

I'm considering these signs of peace to come.

4 comments:

Lorie McCown said...

I just got a chance to catch up with all your work here! What an amazing summer your are having! I love your stuff, and congrats on the upcoming show. Well deserved.

MosaicMagpie said...

I love this one.
Debbie

lindacreates said...

This really touched my heart. This has to be one of the most painful decisions a mother will ever make. My daughter recently had to do the same thing and it was so painful for all of us.

Julia said...

When I was 19, my parents kicked me out. I was causing a lot of strife for them & I know they were out of ideas and patience.
I also know it was hard for them to make me go...and I was pegnant...it sounds so harsh but,they didn't abandon me, it was very much time for me to start being responsible for my life.
It ended up being the best thing for our relationship. My mom & I are very, very close now...we all needed that extra room to breath.
So, I know from this perspective, that this Mom LOVES her child & wants what we all want for our kids.