What does it mean to be forever a wallflower?  I think Lang Leav summed it up best in the following quotation.

Shrinking in a corner,/ pressed into the wall;/do they know I’m present,/am I here at all?”

Lang Leav, Australian best-selling author, in her novel, Love and Misadventure.

Leav is an accomplished poet and artist whose works of art embellish her books. Her next novel, Sad Girls, will be released in May, 2017.


Forever a wallflower pastel portrait

“Forever a wallflower”. 8 1/2″ x 11″. Pan pastels and Faber Castell Pitt Pastel pencils on Canson Mi-teintes paper.


The downcast eyes and the hair hiding part of the face tell a story of a young woman who doesn't want attention focused on her.

In fact, she is most uncomfortable when the spotlight is on her, even when it is in a most natural situation as in the classroom.   She would rather not be singled out to answer any questions.  Always unsure of herself and of the answers she might have, she avoids eye contact until the lesson is over.

To be sure, we have all known people like this.

It might have been in high school where a student turned beet red in the face when he had to voice an opinion, or it might have been in the board room when the boss asked for a report and the manager stammered and coughed and could hardly speak.

This painting evokes those moments when even the most confident person has a little doubt and wishes to be left alone to gather her thoughts before putting on a brave face.

I had considered the title "A shrinking violet" for this pastel painting; however, this term is not used much any more and I didn't think it would resonate as much as wallflower.

To be forever a wallflower means to be paralyzed with fear that someone will notice her, to be stuck to a behavioural pattern which results in others rejecting her.  She is much like many of the high school students I taught.  A little awkward, very shy.

We can understand that feeling, can't we?

I’d love to hear what you have to say...