Friday, December 08, 2006

talking subject matter

This drawing has been in my sketchbook for a little over a week. I feel some anxiety over posting it and I am perplexed by it. Strangely, I feel a heightened sensitivity because my subject is disabled. It's almost as though I feel the need to cradle her, and keep her safe, rather than exposing her to the world. Is this silly? Why is this?

One of my favorite blogs to visit is Cindy Wood's Learning Daily. Oftentimes, Cindy's subjects appear to be disabled. What I appreciate so much about Cindy's work is how she doesn't hide their disabilities, special equipment or expressions, but instead gives you a true portrait of the person and their life. I hope this is what I have done here. My subject's mouth was open; rather than close it to make her more "pretty," I drew just what I saw. In many ways I feel to ignore these aspects of the person is to ignore the person completely.


addon said...

nah, don't worry. i've had to visit facilities that help people with other sorts of disabilities - mental - i asked my nurse friend how she dealt with these folk - she said "just treat them as people" and i thought that was great, they are the same as all of us, no need to patronise or feel different. if you know what i mean, i have not said this very well!


andrea joseph's sketchblog said...

Beautiful sketch Suzanne.

Christeen said...

I realy like it that you've mustered the courage to post this- bravo! I enjoy Cindy's blog too- because I have a handicapped brother, and myself have worked a lot in nursing homes, and group homes.
There IS a beauty in capturing a person just as they are. You elevate them as you draw- you honor them when you accept them as they are and refuse to 'pretty them up'. It's a blessing to take the ordinary, and find the loveliness in it. Well done!

Jana Bouc said...

Very nice drawing. I especially like the addition of the service dog, who adds a comforting and warm feeling to the drawing. I'm glad you're done with your finals and will be able to recuperate a bit!

Cin said...

hi, I was hesitant too at first but when I ask my friends every one says "yes" post me! and Bill completely put the issue to rest when he said "Why not? I am the most handsome man alive." :)

a lovely sketch

thanks for your words and link :)

suzanne said...

Thanks so much for your comments. I appreciate your reassurance.

seastartrue said...

My daughter has Down's syndrome and people can be really weird. They mostly stare and it gets to Julia. She asked me the other day why people stare. Hmmm, what to tell her.

So I can realize why you may feel protective.

I have worked with people with disabilities and have learned they are just people who happen to learn slower, speak differently or sit in a wheelchair, etc.

I agree with addon's nurse friend.

It was a beautiful sketch.