A Portrait

Call me old fashioned, call me overprotective, but I’m a little weird about having my daughter’s face all over the internet.  I’m sure I don’t need to tell you that the internet, while a wonderful and amazing resource, can be quite creepy.

If there’s anything that I’ve learned from the “Collaborations” post going viral is that nothing is sacred.  People are free to say and do anything from behind the protective shield of a computer screen.  And they do.

I am reminded of an installation piece by Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal, who lived in a room for a month with an internet-controlled paint gun.  Anyone at all could log on and shoot him, with no repercussions, no consequences.  And they did.  A LOT.  SO much so that he was haunted and traumatized by it.  As this article states, “…when people no longer fear reprisal from their actions then they will become monsters with little regard for other human beings.”

So if I’m so protective of her, why post anything at all about my daughter?  Simply put:  she is an enormous part of my life.  I know the things I do with and for her are things another mother or father might like to know, or might feel better for having read.  People can be nasty, and while I’m a big girl and can handle it, I feel there’s no real reason (other than the fact that she is, in fact, super adorable) to show her face.  Cropping and sideshots, folks.  That’s just how it goes.

But since my artistic likenesses aren’t exactly photorealistic, I feel fairly comfortable sharing a painting I did of her.  My first one of her, actually–and it was pretty intimidating.  Photos rarely capture someone’s personality, and I find with portraits, I will sometimes paint it as closely as I can to the photo, and yet there is something always missing:  the personality, which (unless you know the person) is difficult to grasp and (even if you do know them) is difficult to separate from.

m-1So I wanted to draw my daughter with a few of my favorite girlie accessories:  She-Ra’s sword, Leia’s belt, Wonder Woman’s golden lasso, and Leia (as Boushh)’s holster.


One time, my daughter told me she wanted a “gown” to play dressup, so we got some pink thing (a dress?  A nightgown?) at my friend’s vintage clothing sale for $3.  At the time, her kid-drawings were nothing more than circles with faces, and lines for arms and legs.  She called them “monsters,” so I recreated them in acrylic in the background.

When she saw the final piece, she looked for a minute with a critical eye and said, “…is that me?”

“Yes,” I said.

“Is that mine drawings?”

“Yes,” I said.  “I put them on the painting.  Do you like it?”

She paused for a long time.  “I think it is beautiful.” She said.

And that’s pretty cool.


23 responses

  1. Yeah, pretty cool.

  2. I’ve been really impressed in your blog that you DO manage to post pictures of your daughter that are so cleverly staged/cropped.
    I love this portrait…it captures so much more than just her face. x

    1. Thank you! Since that post, I’ve gone & changed ALL of my facebook photo settings as well, and only post pictures of her to people on my “close friends” list. I’d rather not google her and find her face all over the internet!

  3. You & your daughter are cool! And that is a lovely painting ^^

  4. I think it’s beautiful too. I agree with you that it’s tricky balancing our art and desire to depict those we love with the need to protect them on the internet. It is too bad so many people use the web as an easy, anonymous place to hurt others. Mean people suck. Your drawings and paintings are wonderful. I hope you will continue to share them.

    1. Thank you so much! Internet wonderfully allows me to share things that would normally only be in my sketchbooks, but it doesn’t take much for it to turn evil..:(

  5. I, too, thinks its beautiful.

    (and even though i am approaching sixty, I am going to have to consider a portrait of my young self, decked out in hero gear. To help re-write so of those tapes of my youth)

  6. What a treasure for your daughter to have such a creative, beautiful rendering of her likeness at a particular point in her life. Pretty cool art work to have on her walls when she’s older!

  7. And I think you are “pretty cool”.
    (sidenote: I posted an innocent photo of my granddaughter on Pinterest. It was copied by a pedophile who was also on Pinterest. I checked out his page and all I saw were photos of little girls. It took a while, but I finally got Pinterest to delete her photo from his page. They were also going to look into his page and the pages of his followers that I suggested were also pedophiles per the photos on their pages. You can never be too careful when it comes to what you post.)

    1. VERY creepy. I always worry when family or friends post bathing suit or bathtub kid pics. You never know who’s out there with access to them.

  8. I would have to agree with your little artist… BEAUTIFUL!

  9. I enjoy reading your posts and thought the painting of your daughter was really nice. It is sad though when the internet is used for evil. Some folks just need to create turmoil to be happy. You however, are just sharing wonderful moments and memories and I want to thank you for what you do.

  10. Your daughter knows beauty when she sees it!!

  11. that portrait is beautiful and how weird to read this, this week i returned to draft about 700 posts about my kids as I had a real scare! the internet sure can be a creepy place! it was a big wake up call for me x

    1. The post going viral taught me how quickly things can slip out of your hands. Thankfully I didn’t use her full face in the blog post, but I immediately changed and deleted a ton of stuff from my personal Facebook page. People can be creepy.

  12. This is really beautiful , I love it

  13. I’m so thrilled a friend posted about your collaboration art work on FB this morning. And then to find your blog has been so fun… I totally get your point in this post and I don’t even have kids. But I wrote a blog, daily, for 5 years (i’m not so up to date these days) and always rode that fine line about my husband and family, trying not to use names and locations. My husband never understood how I could be so adamant about being ‘anon’ while being so public. I’m glad you can still write your blog and still post photos while taking precautions: Lucky us! (beautiful work you two are doing, by the way!!!)

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