I was having a conversation recently with a vibrant, energetic and interesting woman. I asked her if she would be a portrait model for a small group I was about to work with. She said she would love nothing more. She then went onto say that as a child everyone referred to her as being ‘shy’. No matter what she did or wanted to do..parents would step in and say – ‘you do realise that Carrole is very shy’. Carrole had been labeled……
Watercolour of my friend Charlotte…who was always considered to be the life and soul of the party. As I look at this portrait many years after it was painted, I see ‘introspection and a depth ‘- two traits not necessarily associated with Charlotte. Two traits that didn’t fit in with her label. The problem with labels is that they cannot capture the complexity of the human spirit.
Being labeled often happens when we are very young….even during our first three formative years, and so often that label sticks for life. A label can shape our identity and dictate our future!
This is Quintin (watercolour) – a dear little boy I met in Brittany France in 1995. He was very sad during this moment in time because his mother and father had just divorced. He and I spent a lovely day together. I haven’t seen him since I painted this portrait. and so I wonder what labels have been put on him?
In this (watercolour/gouache) portrait of Christie I have added two hummingbirds. Hummingbirds symbolise for me the ‘unseen magic’ that surrounds us all. Of course for the magic to work, it must be acknowledged and believed….and Christie always has believed in it. Christie is my daughter and so it’s difficult to be objective, but I feel this portrait speaks of her.
This photograph of me with my new born baby Jarrod was taken in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida in 1966. During my life, I have been labeled many things, but at this time In the States I was labeled a ‘foreigner’ and ‘alien’. Jarrod was labeled an American citizen.
The thing is that during life we grow, evolve and change…..and so what happens when we are still stuck with the same labels that we were given at an earlier time – particularly if those same labels hold us back throughout our lives.
watercolour Madame Nottale – an exceptional human being…who later in life stripped away the labels and found herself.
Madame Nottale had been a mother of eight children, a wife, a nurse and someone who could always be counted on to give and care for others. In her late eighties she was put in a nursing home where she found her true self. She painted and wrote every day for the last few years of her life and to the amazement of her children and everyone else, incredible poems flowed from her….and so many paintings that the walls in her room were covered – top to bottom.
From one of my recent posts. ‘It is never to late’. It is never to late to get rid of labels that hold us back.
By the way it’s not just humans that are given labels. Animals are also labeled….Adorable, cute, gorgeous or what???:)