Our Tree – By Charlotte Farhan

 

 

 

 

 

 

This week I have chosen a very special painting which is called Our Tree. This painting is of a time and place which I hold close to my heart. When I was 15 I was admitted to a psychiatric unit at this old Victorian hospital in Epsom, Surrey. You would have to see it to believe it! Maybe due to my state of mind and my age as soon as I arrived at Woodside adolescent Unit, West Park hospital it was as if I had entered a very strange
world, a dream like world.

The grounds were massive, the buildings were mostly derelict and secret gardens and passages had emerged due to the overgrowth of plants and trees surrounding the buildings. It was a gorgeous summer and as my world outside the hospital had ended, the new world inside the grounds of the hospital had only just begun.

Whilst at Woodside, I met a girl called Jenny. Jenny was tall, dark-haired and always wore black and never wore shoes. Jenny did not speak to anyone and seemed so shy and scared I did not know how to approach her, but I knew I had to know this girl.

Jenny and I became very close, she would only speak to me and we developed our own way of communicating when others were around us. The Doctors and Nurses did not like this and thought I was manipulating Jenny, which could not be further from the truth! One beautiful August day, after creative writing therapy Jenny and I decided to make a run for it. We had discussed it many times before and even made little plans and had looked for the best way to do it. So we pretended we were just going to the vending machine and then made a break for it. Behind our ward there were endless fields and trees. We decided to run to the furthest fence, which we knew was the edge of the grounds. In the fence there was a hole which had been previously cut out from the chicken wire, someone had clearly thought of this escape before. So we ducked under and left the hospital grounds.

Almost as if we had entered another dimension or Universe this field looked glorious and almost as if it was all that existed in this alternate celestial space , as if it had been created for us, and only us. An endless field of golden corn. As we walked through the field which was on a hill we reached the highest point and saw a gloriously large field tree on its own, as if no one had discovered it. We decided to go and take some shade
and have a rest under its large arms of luscious leaves listening to that whispering and rustling from the breeze. We sat in the shade for hours, talking, sleeping, day dreaming, hoping that we could hold on to this perfect moment in time, hoping that the realities of why we were here and the cruel world in which we came from, would not reclaim us and that we could stay there forever.

Unfortunately Jenny and I could not stay there forever. Reality claimed us back and the world cruelly gobbled us back up. Jenny never got to leave Woodside properly, several years later after I had left and Jenny had become a day patient, Jenny took her own life one cold bitter day in December. A very large part of myself died that day, I was never angry at Jenny for leaving our world, because I knew she had not left “our world” she had returned to it. Jenny had gone back to the golden field, she was home.

This painting is a representation of that world, I made the scene different by adding the surreal large moon setting in the background, which gives off a very bright white light, and this was to represent the alternate Universe we were in. I made it night-time to symbolise the sadness and loss I feel without Jenny, which is why I choose cold blues instead of vivid greens. I added pink blossom to the tree to express my love and the romance I felt with Jenny. I kept the gold in the corn field to signify the beauty and magic which was felt.

So this painting is in honour of my beautiful Jenny, this was “our tree” I hope you like it and can see what I have tried to do. Please feel free to comment and leave feedback.

Thank you for reading,

Lots of love,

Charlotte x
x x

 

13 thoughts on “Our Tree – By Charlotte Farhan

  1. This is a very special tree for two very special girls during a very special journey in their lives. You have talent in your paintings and in your writing.

  2. This is beautiful! Very moving. I used to go to Woodside hospital myself. Was there for nearly a year before being a day patient in 2002 I appeared on inside my head. Woodside really helped me and part of me misses that.

  3. Beautiful story and a beautiful painting. I too was a patient at Woodside (in the mid 90’s) and it was a very unique, special and painful period of my life. Reading your post bought back many bitter sweet memories. RIP your friend Jenny.

  4. This was absolutely lovely. You illustrated with words as brilliantly as you do with paints. I felt I was there, and in a way you made Jenny very much alive in my heart and anyone who reads this. Thank you for sharing brave lady! You are positively splendid! ❤
    Would you mind terribly if I shared this on my facebook page? http://www.facebook.com/redriddleart I have an event coming up and I'd like to include your story as an inspirational piece. :o)

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