Art of Healing
Rhodes College 
  2000 N. Parkway, Memphis, TN 38112
April 2005

Last Updated March 18, 2005

The following paintings are porptioned to actual size.

Mike's Death
28 x 30

His abandoned truck along with the note triggered the search. After his body was transformed back to dust and freed to the wind over the waters, my grief turned to raging anger. His search for identity was an impossible struggle. To be a man when his role model had been an abusive vile tyrant was too much. His only solution was to fly from the rail to a world where there was no pain with every breath. My anger spilled into a confrontation that was denied with accusations of Satan's lies flowing from me. But the secret could no longer be hidden. Here was the evidence, the results of Mike's lifelong treatment was his death.

Tightrope Romance
30 x 36

With a promise of love joining the world of two souls, is it the thread of trust or the courage of the lover that is being tested? It is even more of a challenge when the deep scars serve as protection as well a barrier to intimacy in a relationship.

Nightmare Man
10 x 8

The tyrant ruled his world with threats and unjust explosions of violence. Could I minimize his power by making his image small?

Diamond Searcher
40 x 40

It is said that every question contains it's own answer. But it seems that questions seem to only lead to more questions. Why does the solution seem to be buried so deep? Is there an oracle that holds the key? Where is the guide to show the way? Do I actually believe that the answer can come from an outside source? Must I always struggle for my desires? Can I let go and let the answers be revealed?

40 x 30

Swirled and overwhelmed by the exhilaration
the wonder of the birth of a soul
so much to give, so much to fear
baby girl, the journey has begun
we will grow together
show me how to be a mom
as we travel on this adventure

After Hours
20 x 16

Like an animal in the jungle I did what I had to do to survive. It was a game of seductive powers used as a method, tool or even a weapon to have needs met. As the saying goes;  looking for love in all the wrong places.

Murder Witness
36 x 40

For days I would feel the fear as I remembered the dream of hiding under the bedcovers where the dead body of the woman had been tossed. I dared not breath, fearing the killer would realize I had witnessed the murder.

Winter Rain
18 x 24

Feeling lost and spending endless hours searching for answers and screaming for help. WHY did this happen to me?  At times I retreated to the rules and boundaries of organized religion for protection only to discover that the real answer was in forgiving myself.

Scary Nights
18 x 24

The aroma of percolating coffee entwines with the songs of whippoorwills as they herald the dawn and waken me. It is not until I hear the rumble of the engine disappear up the road that I relax and uncurl from the tight ball I have slept in. The inner guard whispers that the danger is gone - but only until the sound of the engine returns.

Unfinished Nightmare
36 x 32

The haunting feelings and images of recurring nightmares is captured in this image. Examining these frightful memories has helped me to understand and release the energy of that repressed trauma.

Retrograde Planets
20 x 36

The wild eyed woman had stopped and warned  me that the planets were retrograde. Later I would warn my daughter of insanity when a man would step out of the bushes and invade our world with his perversion.

Dashboard Jesus
36 x 28

A clear view of the road leading through the challenge of the mountains.
A rear view mirror giving clues to the past.
Religious beliefs captured in a plastic Jesus.
A throw of the dice and the luck it brings.
The salad of the here and now mixed for tomorrow.

Out of Body
28 x 16

Although initially, I painted this image to rid myself of its haunting presence, I discovered after reading, “Courage to Heal” that I was not alone in seeing this view from the corner of the ceiling. I learned that leaving my body was my only escape. At the time I remember numbing my body so much that there would be no way that I could be hurt. I became as dead as a log. I now know that this is not from the mind of a crazy person, but a witness to the creativity for process of survival.

As the World Turns

48 x 48

Life is change in motion
A rhythm of balance and beauty reflected in movement of time.
I am blessed to be part of this flow
I am balance in the midst of change
I am balance
I am
Blessed be

Bible Reading
32 x 24

After dinner we would read the bible while mom would leave or tend to my youngest sisters, leaving us alone with dad. We would take turns reading as we stood next to dad. For years, I felt the shame of that experience as if somehow I should have done something to make it NOT happen. As the other kids sat around the table listening, HE chose to fondle the reader and masturbate while the bible was being read.

It took seeing that scene on canvas for me to witness the truth and release a mountain of shame. I was not to blame. I had no guilt.


Vacation with Dad
36 x 30

In 1965, dad and the older kids took a cross-country vacation to California. During this trip, we didn't camp or stay in motels, instead we all slept curled up in the station wagon.

As it turned out, three kids would sleep in the back seat and one unfortunate person would have to sleep in the front with dad. Dad took advantage of that opportunity to fondle the child while he would masturbate. I hated him and how it made me feel. Until that painting I carried the shame of that memory. Again, the painting showed the truth. We were betrayed and he took advantage of us. The disgrace and SHAME lies on his shoulders.

Father knows best
36 x 30

What irony the media brought to our home. Respect and love were never felt for a man who dishonored the role of father, parent or human.


The beat goes on
32 x 40

The fear of domestic violence was a constant threat. We witnessed mom get battered many times. This painful image has helped me understand the need for change to abusive patterns of expressing anger and not accepting the role of victim or becoming an abuser myself.

Sins of the father
18 x 36

A life of transgression deadened his soul.
Blindly he planted the seeds of terror.
Cries of suffering, violations and cruelty were the norm.
His compassion died with the years of accumulated tortures.
A legacy of painful memory, scars and death to his children.


Lost Selves
36 x 56

Propelled by a desperate desire for relief, the reckless choice leads to a dead-end.
"I've been here before", echoes in my head.
Doesn't anyone hear my cry?
Is there anyone who can help me?
Trapped with no light, no voice, no hope - parts of me die, fossilized in memory.


    Solstice Summer
    40 x 40

    The hard work evolved to the discovery of a source of power and balance within myself. A joy fills my being as I continue to experience this wonderful stage in the cycle of healing and freedom from the pain of the past.

36 x 40

 The seeds of hate and anger are symbolically reflected in this image. I inherited the seeds of these hurtful, evil spirited monsters and their slimy, perverted companions from my abusive, tyrannical father. As I became an adult, it was painful to witness these monsters of rage explode from me, hurting those closest to me. The words and emotions that came out of my mouth seemed beyond my control, coming from deep inside, exploding at their will - not mine.

By creating and understanding this image, I am able to recognize these ugly parts of myself. I see that although they are inside, they are NOT me. I need not fight, react to them or give them power. By examining these scary parts, I learned to recognize the triggers that give these monsters power and how to pull the plug so they no longer control my emotions or life.

Dead limbs
24 x 36

A monster lived in our home.
In violent rage, he attacked and seized what he wanted.
The soulless madman was not human.
To survive, the child spirit learned to numb and deaden the body during the torturous horrors.

Moonlit Cartwheels
36 x 40

As a gift and celebration for my inner child I have created this image which includes children playing with no fear of the night.


People want you to be happy
Don't keep serving them your pain
If you could untie your wings
and free your soul of jeolousy
you and everyone around you
would fly up like doves

 Birds make great sky circles of their freedom.
How do they learn it?
They fall.
And falling, they're given wings.

All images are Copyright by Linda Ness
All Rights Reserved

Reproduction of any kind is strictly prohibited without priot express written consent.