Portrait of My Son Jack and His Autism, ©MaybethRothman
Portrait of My Son Jack and His Autism, ©MaybethRothman

After spending the day with my sneezing and coughing son Jack, I woke up with a head cold. Even though he now 24 years old, a simple head cold is a very confusing state of being for Jack. While reading many TBT posts today through the haze of my annoying but not confusing head cold, I was reminded of this portrait of Jack that I painted a few years ago. I share it here again with you.

November 2011  Typically my encaustic mixed media portraits, include vintage photography. Posted here is a portrait of one of my sons.

After many months of following my son Jack with a camera, I realized this would not only be portrait of him, but also his autism. I have recorded the disorder that has defined his place in the world, excluded him from society, and denied him the beauty and subtleties of life.  Portrait of My Son Jack and His Autism is a story told from a distant, isolated and awkward place. Armed with a only a few utterances, Jack wanders through the world overwhelmed by words and sounds that he cannot understand and people he will never know.  Jack responds to the world viscerally, indifferent and at times with small sparks of recognition.   The photograph that I chose for this painting portrays my son as he blocks out the sound in an ordinary situation, which for him, is a swirling storm that he cannot navigate.


  1. My heart goes out to you and your son.

  2. Hi My name is Tremain. I used to work with your Son Jack at Melmark. He has certainly grown. I am still doing art as well. I also teach art at a school serving students with special needs..Hope all is well with you.

    • I remember you Tremain. You were so kind to Jack. My son is still making art all of the time. He covers his bedroom walls with drawings and then takes them down, tears them up and starts again. I am happy to hear you are still a working artist. xo