Mixed media, 16 x 20, St Germain.
The night was in the room
the toys on the floor, scattered
the starry sky was in the room
I carry you till rays of dawn
flood the sky in the room
and my little star has gone asleep
Poem also by St.Germain
What I wanted to convey artistically with this painting is the wonder and the mystery of the universe. A night sky full of twinkling stars had come into the room. That is also the reason why no furniture is indicated. Only the curtain and the window sill, marking the boundaries of the room.
At the same time, this young father stares into the night, being exhausted and feeling numb after his child has cried for hours, and finally fell asleep on his arm. In the poem, where the meaning of words may be on different levels, the word "scattered" also could apply to the father feeling "scattered" after so many draining hours. A familiar feeling to all parents!
This scene looks realistic, but is not. As you can see the stars are also inside the room. The room has become part of the universe. Also, the body of the child and the arm are collapsed in one (as if they are one and the same).
Psychologically seen, a mother is at first the physical provision and extension of a child; in the womb and later when breast feeding. Then, there is a special bond between father and child as well (Attachment Theory, Bowlby).
I am glad that today more attention is given to the attachment of the child with the father.
My findings as a clinical psychologist are that for a boy a father is important, because the father is a model of what manhood is: his identity, the role a man plays in the world, how to be a provider, and a husband.
For a girl a father is the first man in her life. How the father is (his character and identity) and relates to his daughter has far-reaching effects in her relationships with men in general, and what kind of a man she is likely to marry later.
Percentage wise more people seek counseling having grown up with one parent.
A story that illustrates a father's relationship with his son is one that effects me like a ton of bricks is falling down.
This story tells of a son who squandered his father's inheritance in another country. Then, when all is gone, he got a job as a farmhand, taking care of the pigs. There was a famine, and no one gave him food. Coming to his senses, he realized that his dad's workers had plenty of food.
The son decides to go home and work for his father as a farm hand.
In this sketch the gesture of the hand above the father's eye is one of straining to look as far as one can possibly see. The other hand is half way raised, as if he wants to say, "Wait, I first need to see if he is coming..."
I imagine that the father made this gesture day after day. And when he made himself ready for bed in the evening, he prayed fervently that his son would be safe, and he would return soon.
The story goes that the father saw his son coming from far. This means his wayward son had been continuously on his mind. All his father could think of was to run towards his son and throws his arms around him.
This sketch focuses on the son. He was drawn purposefully smaller, because I imagined he felt small and remorseful, and may be even inadequate, with thoughts like, what do I have to show for? Nothing! The way he hugs his dad is almost half-hearted, as if he is not sure about his father's reaction.
On his face one can read mixed feelings. Is it really true? Is my father truly glad that I came home? But then, there is also relief that he finally did the right thing in returning home. He can hardly believe his ears when he hears,
"You are back!
All is forgiven.
Quick, bring the best clothes and put it on him.
Put a ring on his finger and shoes on his feet.
Let's have a party and celebrate!
For my son was dead and is alive again;
he was lost and is found!"
He had forgiven his son a long time ago for going his own way,
squandering what he worked so hard for. His dad receives him as his son. This is the love of a father.