This is an article I wrote for THE AUTISM FILE magazine in the summer 2008 edition. There is no mention of art at all in this article. Life was all consumed by my sons condition and I had very little time to paint . I have had full-time help for 3 years now and am back in my studio catching up and making the paintings that have been informed by those difficult years .
An artists life resonates with the work they create, therefore I can not talk about my work without mentioning the last 23 years which have been primarily devoted to raising my 2 boys and especially my eldest son Jorge who is autistic. There is nothing predictable about a day when it is spent in the company of a person locked in an autistic bubble . They inhabit a body constantly bombarded with stimuli that cannot be filtered . Someone explained it to me once and said, “ imagine you are autistic and your teacher asks” , “please can you sit still, open your book on page 7 and read to me from the last paragraph”. All of those instructions are competing to be heard whilst fused equally with the buzz of the lightbulb, the teachers lecture in the room above, the music lesson in the room below, the wind and rain hitting the window, the stimulating beauty of the light hitting racing raindrops, the competing chatter of the other students .Your teacher is getting frustrated, they don’t understand why you don’t answer BUT the only words you managed to comprehend from her sentence are “please” and “open” - making no sense at all. She has to repeat herself again and again.
Forever fighting the ignorance of so called specialists and trying to explain why your son would not be able to cope within expected parameters. Who would expect a fish to ride a bicycle ? How can we expect an autistic child to reach their potential in their alien world? He craves release from these confines as do I, having witnessed the strangle of autism , depriving him of reaching his potential, whilst inhibiting our families freedom.
Having had such a unique and special individual to share my time with has educated me and taken me in many different directions. When you share space with autism the only choice you have is to accept the unpredictable and to live in the present. it is out of your control - embrace it . So my conditioning began.
I have had the time in recent years to analyse my art practise and to discover how my life, past and present, resonates with my art practise.
Through home educating and working with my son I have had to try to control or find order in the unpredictable. Mixed techniques and experimenting has enabled me the freedom to play in the ways I crave. It is now second nature for me to choose fluidity, to distrust pre- conceptions and to naturally embrace the unexpected.
Freedom is (something autistics don’t have whilst trapped in their exclusive world), something a mother of autistics crave, as we all to often also feel trapped by this much misunderstood condition. I pulled myself through these difficult times using art as my means of expressive release.
ENERGY in all its’ guises, be that the energy of light, steam , fire, wind and water or the intangible and unseen energies of fusion, kinetics, thought and colour that excites and Inspires me .