WHAT WOULD SHE HAVE BECOME cont.
When I was young my art helped me survive a ferocious childhood that would have eaten me alive. As an adult I created the book What Would She Have Become to navigate this minefield. But I also wanted to tell the story for my family and for ordinary people to understand the trauma that children experience everyday and are unable to share.
I started by approaching the canvas with a phrase or poem from my journals, fairy tale stories and even nightmares. Then I sifted through my family photos to find ones that would best express the story. In the painting What Would She Have Become, for which the book is named, I included whimsical drawings I made as a child. For each painting I sat with the story and recalled what it felt like growing up -- the color of a favorite dress or the linoleum on our kitchen floor. It was cathartic to smell and feel the paint and cut and glue the images like the paper dolls of my childhood.
Most of the art from What Would She Have Become is framed in old windows and cabinets because child abuse frequently happens inside the home. Sometimes ideas have urgently tumbled out of me and fell into place fully formed. Why Should I Cry For You was created in one sitting. The collage for Tornado also came together quickly and the words I found formed phrases I hadn't intended. Other times it took months for the idea to come to completion. Their Father Was Crazy didn't jell until I found some material that reminded me of a strait jacket which I used to frame the art.
I don't abandon the process till the piece tells me it is done.