If you could paint your pregnancy, with all the emotions it evokes, what would it look like? Tumultuous or serene? Bright colors or muted? Realistic or abstract?
One artist, named Kelly Kenedy, taps into the emotion of pregnancy to create over 40 canvases that now hang in the new Pregnancy Care Center facilities in Springfield, Missouri. She says that she hopes her artwork will help young women and men facing unplanned pregnancies find strength and courage.
One of her favorites is a canvas that hangs in a waiting area. The focal point of the acrylic and latex painting are two turquoise blue shapes that look much like the top of eggs standing on end. Randomly placed in front of the “eggs” are chocolate brown squares, and the background is an atonal swirl of off-white and beige.
“To me, the egg shapes speak to birth,” says Kennedy, who sees the ovals and squares as separate dimensions on the canvas, with the “undefined” background space tapping into the uncertain emotions of the women who come to the center. “To me, it looks like the profile of a women when she’s pregnant,” Kennedy adds. “When she comes in here, her emotions are in flux. There’s excitement and there’s fear.”
Two other large canvases, hanging in the board office, represent another style. With stark black backgrounds, these oil paintings use bright reds and yellows to evoke the idea of small eggs tumbling down across the canvas. “The board makes a lot of important decisions in here. Out of one decision a lot of things come tumbling out,” Kennedy explains.
Artwork can be both stimulating and therapeutic. The abstract paintings in the Center speak to the mothers and fathers who come there. “We are at an abstract point in our lives… We feel disjointed, so it’s relatable,” said one young woman who used their services and now works at the Center herself.The artwork has received lots of positive attention. “It’s very comforting and welcoming to them,” says the Center’s executive director.
Springfield’s Pregnancy Care Center provides prenatal and postnatal services to mothers and fathers, relationship programs, mentoring, and the Choices abstinence education program. To learn more, visit www.pccchoices.org