Attachment Painting


Images of Attachment Parenting by a Painting Mom


2-for-1 special on attachment parenting posters & cards

Me with my daughter Eve, age 4 months, December 1991

A painting mom?  That’s not how I usually describe myself professionally.  My online presence is that of an illustrator, author, educator, and fine artist.  But the truth is, being a mom is my main occupation.  If you read Mothering when it was a printed magazine, you may have seen the above image as their 25th and 30th anniversary logo.  That image began as a linoleum block print that I carved when I was eight months pregnant with my first child.  I had just finished reading  “The Continuum Concept”, by Jean Liedloff.  That book chimed in accord with everything I knew in my very round gut.  It taught me about attachment parenting as it has naturally existed for thousands of years – and affirmed my decision to live accordingly as much as possible.

After my baby was born, my attachment parenting values easily found expression in visual images.  Nurturing babies and cooperating with nature’s intentions translates almost effortlessly into organic forms.  I had studied fine art and had little intention of pursuing commercial art, but finding a way to work at home and stay with my son became my top priority.  I could not bear to put him in daycare as a baby, and wanted to be free to nurse on demand and give him every immunological edge possible.  So I began creating original paintings for children’s bedrooms.  These brightly-colored gouache paintings reflected my love of folk art, with multi-ethnic children playfully interacting.

My first picture book, published in 1992.

One day, a colleague saw these paintings and suggested I get in touch with his wife, the editor-in-chief at Holiday House, one of the last independently-owned children’s book publishers.  My first book contract soon followed.  I was pregnant with my second child by then, and was thrilled to have a new way to work at home.  The finished art for WHAT’S MAGGIE UP TO? was painted with my newborn daughter nursing in my lap.  My baby nursed often, and I learned to work in short, frequent intervals.

I grew into the roles of new mom and children’s book author/illustrator simultaneously, while also continuing as a fine artist as much as I could.  Most of these paintings were mother-&-child images, and many were done partly while nursing.   Soon my husband, Emery Bernhard, and I became an author-illustrator team, and our book A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK: A Day of Baby-Carrying Around the World (Harcourt Brace, 1997) was born.   This book combined our baby-carrying lifestyle with our interest in parenting practices around the world.  Fifteen years later, this book is still selling strong.  It has become widely recognized as a multicultural handbook of attachment parenting for children.  The book affirms in simple terms the wisdom of indigenous cultures that trust nature’s intentions and support unrestricted nurturing.

An illustration from A RIDE ON MOTHER’S BACK
© Durga Yael Bernhard – do not reproduce

Thirty books later, I’m still doing children’s books, and I’m still painting.  I also do a lot of arts-in-ed programs for kids, using my books as a basis for creative projects.  My son is now a graduate student, and my daughter, age 21, is a wonderful big sister to my younger daughter, age 10.  All my children were born at home and all were breastfed for 3+ years.  Attachment parenting has been a monumental shaping force in my lifestyle and career both as fine artist and illustrator.

October is “Attachment Parenting Month“.  In honor of that, I’m offering a 2-for-1 sale on the following posters and cards.  Click on each image to read more about it, or visit my webstore.  For every poster or card you order from this selection, I will automatically send you two!  Posters are $12 each for 8.5×11″ size.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

Happy October and happy parenting!


2-for-1 sale on posters and cards:

“Mother & Child” (ver. 1) – available as a poster or card.

“Lotus Birth” was originally commissioned by Mothering Magazine. Available as a poster or card.

“The Mother Garden” is available as a poster or card.

“Beginning Prayer” is available as a poster or card.

“Family” (ver. 3) is available as a poster.

“Pregnant Sleep”, one of my most popular images, was painted when I was pregnant with my third child.

“La Guinée” shows a woman from Guinea, West Africa. See the baby’s feet? Click on image to see larger.

“The Bearers”

“Earth Mother”

“Spring Nursling”

“Sleep” is an 11″x17″ poster (2 for $16)

“Tree of Life”

“The Letting Go Spiral” was painted when my first child left home for college.


All artwork copyright © Durga Yael Bernhard.  Please do not reproduce without permission; it is a violation of international copyright law.  If you would like to license an image, please contact me for more information.

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