Saturday, January 23, 2010

She's Not an Angel, Angie

She's not an Angel. 2009


about the piece.
In Angie's words, "I have drawn these little modified stick people with my daughter for a long time. I tell a story and begin drawing. Now that she is older, she narrates the story while I draw. They had always been happy little sketches of our family. After Lucy died, I began painting again, mostly still life in watercolor. This was the first painting I did around my grief. I wanted to turn these happy stick figures on their head, show them in our current reality. Sad stick figures. Grieving stick figures. I decided to try it with watercolor. Of course, the whimsy is that Lucy is smiling and alive. I always draw her smiling. And the saying became something of a silent response to the nurses referring to Lucy as my angel during my experience birthing her. I knew they were being kind and gentle, but I wanted to scream, 'She is not an angel. She is my baby. She is my dead baby.' Maybe I toned down the painting a bit."

about the contributor.
Angie became a stay-at-home mother in 2007 after many years of working in a corporate marketing department as a writer, editor and creative coordinator. Her poetry has been published in several on-line and print publications. Since the death of her second daughter in December 2008, she has maintained a blog called Still Life with Circles, dealing primarily with mothering and grief. When she is not writing, Angie paints and illustrates mizuko jizo and other subjects dealing with babyloss, pregnancy and parenting at her Etsy shop. Angie also is the editor of still life 365 (about time she contributed something, slacker) and has undertaken the Creative Every Day challenge this year, which she chronicles at still life every day. She currently resides outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her husband, daughter Beatrice, and her dog Jack.


  1. I remember stumbling across your blog Angie, and seeing this painting. I was so struck by it. At the time my grief was so fresh and I was sick of hearing my baby referred to as an angel by so many well meaning people. You know I'd love this as a fridge that odd?

  2. Angie, I have loved this painting from the first time I saw it. There is this sense of a baby being chosen to be an angel - this was it's destiny, this is an honor.

    People without dead children just generally do not seem to understand that calling a lost baby an angel is not always comforting. Heaven has plenty of angels already, my son was not needed there.

  3. I agree with the two ladies... this painting really touched me right away. So if you're ever into fridge-magnets... *raise my arm*

  4. I love this painting and its sentiment. x

  5. Angie, I love it. It seems to really put forth the frustrations, the clamor to get people to understand that it was a life and it was lost... not something abstract. Beautiful.

  6. I too stumbled across this painting and your blog Angie, after my daughter died. I've written many a blog post about how it feels when people say I'm lucky to have such a beautiful angel baby. ;/ This painting really touches my heart and it displays exactly how I feel. So thankyou for sharing.

  7. i, too, have loved this painting from the start. even though i named my daughter Angel, she is not one. in some ways, her name is appeasing to others - it was something done for my husband in his grief, because he needed it, needed to name her. and something to comfort to our families. left to me, i don't know if i would have named her Angel - it puts a distance between her and her personhood that makes me uncomfortable. your painting captures that perfectly. xo

    ps love the fridge magnet idea - oddly.

  8. I know what you mean. I cant stand hearing that I have "angels". I dont have angels. I have babies who died. Saints in heaven, yes; angels, no.

  9. I have just worked out that you are the editor of this site. Thank you so much for doing it. It is an oasis of beauty and healing in a desert of grief!

    I love the painting too. I don't agree with all the angel talk but have been at a loss to articulate it. Babies are babies and Angels are angels. My abigail is a baby who died. So love the picture

  10. I had somebody say Henry looked like a little doll at his funeral. Seeing this painting reminded me of that and of my reaction to the comment.


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