A place to show my love for my granddaughter who lives with Cerebral Palsy and my passion for painting. In an effort of raising awareness for C.P. every painting brush stroke I make on raw canvas is a stroke of love, as I discretely paint a green C.P. awareness ribbon in every piece. Can you find them?
Do you know someone who would like to have a painting done? email www.harrold.janet@gmail.com

Monday, October 25, 2010

Different Points of View

Different Points of View --Cards written for the differently abled in mind and in heart.
These cards are never intended to offend anyone.
Last May while I was looking for a birthday card for Hailey, I realized that what the Hallmark cards had to offer for 3 year old girls were popular and current cartoon characters such as Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse or generic cards that displayed a prima ballerina in all her grace and elegance, high on her toes in her beautiful pink pointe shoes. That is when I realized that they didn’t have a card that was a bit more specific to Hailey’s grace. I didn’t see a ballerina in A.F.O’s or a little girl celebrating her accomplishments as she walked through a field of daisy’s in her new walker. So I began to write a line of cards so that when I wanted to give my granddaughter a card for her birthday or a card for encouragement, I could chose a card that was a bit more relational to her.
I began to write text and I am happy with the text that I have written. My drawings however have me a bit concerned. I wanted to paint them in soft demure colors and keep them simple and child friendly. After emailing them to a co-worker I am starting to second guess myself here. I would really appreciate everyone’s honest opinion here before I spend more time, effort and money on this particular project. Above are some images and below is the email correspondence of myself and a co-worker. An example of one of my favorite cards will read as follows.

“When it feels like the whole world is staring at you...just smile”

His Response to my images:
Janet i never want to offend or discourage ..but i expect honest responses when i ask for your reaction so....my first reaction is to be disturbed (obviously the subject manner is sad) 2nd they look juvenile like a kid painted them..however that may be the look you wanted to achieve so there is an innocence to them that's sweet i think you wanted the paintings to say i am handicapped but i am somebody and i can achieve to be what ever i want to be and i am ok and just like you....its ok to look at a person with a handicap on this card or in this world but i guess the reality of it is a bit hard to take...this is my perspective maybe someone with a handicap would be reassured or reaffirmed by an image of someone like themselves...i know these are preliminary drawings and dont necessarily represent your end goal but that was my first reaction i guess the girl and the dog is a bit softer and more gentle to look at...and if she had a smile that was ear to ear i would find it a more pleasing image let me know if my response seems fair.
My response:
You never offend or discourage me. I asked for your first impression and you gave it to me. i wanted them too be soft and simple....so they didn't look to harsh. I realize it is hard too see but for a lot of people this is the reality of their lives, even if others chose to look the other way. Your reaction just makes me more aware that these kind of cards need to be in as many stores as poss. If people got used to seeing them more it would help to raise awareness and hopefully blend into the Norm (whatever that is) I appreciate your honesty.

I realize that I am putting my self in a very vulnerable position on this but, i've got to know before I keep investing in this. The question goes out to my "special needs" friends and my "Not So Special" friends (just kidding) Is this something you would like to see more of, or should I throw in the towel?


  1. The response in my head to your friend's email was almost ver batum what your response was. It may be sad to other people, but to us and to many it is our reality and it's okay! I definitey do not think you should throw in the towel. This is an awesome idea! Good work, Janet!!!

  2. This is a great idea Janet! Hailey and I will be sad if you throw in the towel.

    I understand what your co-worker says about the drawings though. They are missing something. You know how you look at Hailey and it brings a smile to your face...thats what the pictures should do to people. They are missing a sparkle. When people think of disabled people they always think of sadness, but think of miss Hailey, Chloe and all the other disabled kids they are always full of smiles and bright eyes. Thats what the pictures are missing!

    Does that help? haha I have no idea what I am talking about most of the time :)

  3. Tara and Angela, Thank you for your support! Angela, you are exactly right, my original plan was to have Photo's of Hailey in all differnet poses, in her gait trainer, wheelchair Afo's and playing with other children etc. But my son and daughter in law didn't necessarily like the idea, they thought it wouldn't be fair to Hailey. Also, because she didn't get to make the choice whether or not to be the face for these cards. And I can totally understand and respect that. I also thought of asking friends to send me a photo of their kids having a great time, smiling and playing with typically developed children, sending the message that our kids are just like your kids etc. But there would be no compensation as I have no idea where this is really headed, or whether or not the idea will take off. But little girls like Chloe and Hailey would def. fit the text that I have written above. This painting thing is plan B.

  4. Janet - I agree with the previous poster...they are missing a sparkle of how a kid with a disability really feels....like my Ben when he's using his walker. When anyone sees him, they can't help but smile because he's so happy!

    I love the idea though...I'm going to email you a few pics of Ben when I get a minute...and you can do whatever you like with them.

  5. Wow, Thanks Cary...I got your email, this could be Ben's first non paying Modeling Job! How exciting.