December's Online Art Exhibit: Carlynne Hershberger

Introducing: December's Online Art Exhibit.  This is the first entry of a series of entries I am going to (attempt) to do monthly, featuring an artist who has been impacted by adoption.

Carlynne Hershberger

Carlynne Hershberger is an artist, teacher, author, blogger, and First Mother. You may be familiar with her blog "One Option Means No Choice."  She has given me permission to share some of the amazing adoption-related pieces she has done so far for her series "Silent Voices" (working title).  Carlynne creates these masterpieces using colored pencil as well as a variety of other media.  Please enjoy browsing some of her amazing artwork.  The descriptions below each image are written by Carlynne about each piece.

Self Portrait

This piece was the one that got me thinking about doing a series about adoption. I did a sketch for this years ago but just in recent years did it in color. When someone goes through abuse or a trauma like the natural mother does when losing a child it can leave a fracture like nothing else. This represents me and the fractured self both before and after reunion. I included the letters BFA (baby for adoption) for the signs that were put on the door to my hospital room and on the wall above my bed.

The reference for this one is a photo of my daughter when she was a little girl. For 22 years she was a faceless child to me. I'd look everywhere I went at girls who were about the age she would be at that time and wonder..... The large dark space to her right is her missing heritage.

Reflect Here
This one is about the Magdalene Laundries. The story of these women and girls imprisoned in Ireland really struck a chord with me. I was raised Catholic and my daughter was born in 1980. The last of these laundries didn't close until 1996 so the first thought I had was.... this could've been me. The only thing that kept me out of that situation was geography. 

Collaged in the background of the canvas are bible pages that speak about fornication. The white lilies are the young women expected to remain virginal and pure. The lilies are caught in a web of gold - the shaming of us by our religion.

Birthday Wish
When my daughter turned 18 I baked a cake for her and we wished her a happy birthday. That was the beginning of the search for her. On this canvas I wanted to represent the other mothers who lost children so I asked natural mothers to send me their names and the birthdates of their children I would paint them in. The birthday is the hardest day of the year for mothers of adoption loss.


All images in this entry are copyrighted and property of Carlynne Hershberger; used with permission on this blog.  For more of Carlynne, please check out her links:  

And her Etsy store......