There is an artist at the gallery where I have my art, who is an excellent portrait artist. I've taken lessons from her. Her work literally makes your jaw drop. She just won 1st pl from a poet laureate for an event where we could choose any poem of the poet's and create something to go with-it. The first place artist painted a little boy, resting his head on a window, with-a reflection, and feathers floating down. The poet called the award-winning artist a "Modern day DaVinci." Ironically, this artist adopted a troubled child about 20 yrs ago, and he had been bounced from foster home to foster home. She had never heard of "detachment order" (I asked her) and didn't care to research it (I asked her that, too). She got fed up with-him rifling through her purse, lighitng matches, and lying ... all the things we have gone through for our kids. She gave him back ... and he was institutionalized. When she told me that (many yrs ago) I almost threw up. My son was only 5 at the time and I already knew there was something wrong with-him and vowed to stick it out. Just heart wrenching. Meanwhile, I'm working on my real-life child who is a mess and there is no way I would ever, ever send him back. Where would he go? No way could his bmom or grandmother handle him. Absurd. I only work part time, painting and writing, and the artwork I submitted for the show was a piece of cr*p. In fact, my life is kind of a piece of cr*p because I am focusing so much on difficult child. It looked like a teenager did my painting. But I wanted to attend the event and have a painted piece in it, so what the heck. This makes me think of Kay Scarpetta's sister in the Patricia Cornwell series. She writes children's books but is horrid with-children. And it makes me think how much I've given up, in terms of my art, and how far ahead in her career this artist is. She has been married 2 or 3 times and is very, very happy with-her husband, her art, her house and her dogs. I've never seen anyone so happy. Maybe she just knows how to let go and knows how much she can handle. Maybe she has more distinct boundaries. But I can't help think that I'm doing the right thing, because when I'm 60 I can paint and write more ... do something literary and creative and not just commercial. Right now, I am filling my canvas with real life and tears and guts and sweat instead of just paint ... I have such mixed feelings every time I look at that first place painting and look into those boy's beautiful eyes at the gallery.