Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015 Watercolor

To Nurture a Watercolor

Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015 Watercolor 14″ x 20″

This painting freaks my husband out a little.  I was surprised he told me this considering I paint crazy dragons and herniated discs, and he’s ok with that.  A fetus is creepy or freaky?

Freaky is not exactly what I was going for.

Let’s be clear, I’m fine with him thinking it is freaky or creepy.  He has a right to his opinion.  I still love him.

So I tried to look at it like he does.  What is creepy about it?  Well, a fetus doesn’t really look human, does it?  As it develops, it definitely starts out a lump of cells that looks like a planet, then becomes an alien, it gradually becomes human and then cute.

My fetus has big eyes, no whites, like an alien.  Maybe that is it?  But even my reference photo has these and  a bigger head and less developed legs.  Mine actually looked more human from this point of view.

Reference Photo from
Reference Photo from

By the way, google “fetus” or “umbilical cord” and you will find all sorts of strange to gross images.  I bet you won’t call this painting freaky or creepy after doing that.

Maybe what is creepy it is the arm extending from nowhere to embrace the little fetus?

I needed this.

At one time, I desperately wanted to get pregnant.   And that feeling, especially after miscarriage, the delicate, uncomfortable balance, knowing I was nurturing something within but in many ways completely out of control.  I could only cradle him, love him, provide some nourishment and cross my fingers.  It is such a desperate and lovingly out of control experience. 

In many ways, parenthood is the same.

A child exists in connection to the mother, through an umbilical cord physically but also psychically.  Eternally psychically.  The mother’s arm is always cradling.  Let’s not pretend otherwise.

Being pregnant did create a strange relationship with my body.  It did not feel like my body was  mine.  It did feel like I was invaded by an alien. And in that way, the whole experience was creepy. And in my husband’s point of view, it must have been a little freaky watching me transform into and out of it.

Funnily, I don’t think he had a problem with my initial sketch. He said  he thought it was cool.

Sketch - Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Sketch – Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015

Somewhere in the colors, it turned a little freaky?  Oh dear, maybe because it looks like flames, like a Fetus On Fire!  Ok, then I’m creeped out too.  Definitely, not my intent.

I could have stayed with the pastels…

Progress Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015
Progress Nurture (c) Marika Reinke 2015

I’m not really a pastel kind of person though.  I’m convinced it has something to do with my eyes and temperament, I’m highly attracted to bright colors.  I want to be stimulated, not soothed.

It is warm inside a body. Can you imagine? Roughly 98 degrees.  Probably warmer.  You can google that too.

Bright colors are also about celebration and to contrast with my painting about wishing to be pregnant.  Being pregnant is a victory and triumph.  It is a miracle that, even if you experience it differently, is not a simple task.  It is complex, complicated, at a point inexplicable and by virtue of this – absolutely awe-inspiring. That accomplishment deserves a loud colorful scream  – I did it!  I did this!  Look at what my body can do!  Celebrate!

And maybe it is creepy and freaky.  It can be.  To me it is  magical. Ultimately, there isn’t that much difference between freaky and magical, one is repelled by and the other is attracted to the same thing.

We bring life into the world.  We do this everyday.  We create.

When you look closely at theses facts, tell me what you think?


Buy “Nurture” Here

Customized Prints Available: $60
Pack of 10 5″ x 7″ Art Cards: $35
Original: $325


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  1. Carla says:

    Lovely, not creepy:-). I think colors are part of your talent, wouldn’t change a thing. Beautiful.

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