In the summer of 2015 I was inspired by the FL3TCH3R Exhibition. The result is the creation of a series of portraits that speak to people on a personal level, causing the viewer to perhaps think of their ability to identify with the subject and to contemplate the issue at hand.
"THE VEILED" OIL - 16X20
“The Veiled" is my first painting in this series. This painting sheds a light on mental illness. The vertical glazed stripes represent the veil that prevents us from seeing or knowing the mental health issues of people we interact with from day to day. We are mostly unaware of maladies that effect one out of four. Also, the veil represents the effects some patients experience when taking medication. The medication muffles or dulls their view or experience of life.
Her lipstick is askew, her left eye is not as bright as her right, and there are various colors throughout the face and especially around her eyes that could be considered excessive. These particular aspects of the painting reinforce the text that is easily missed, almost veiled itself, that form a design around the neckline of her garment.
Though this is not a painting of my mom, it is incredibly personal because my mom was diagnosed with mental illness when I was three months old.
Her diagnosis was manic/depressive and at times paranoid/schizophrenic disorder. Daily medications kept her symptoms under control for the most part. The veil that covers mental illness does not eliminate nor lessen the effects it causes and the stigma associated with it for individuals or families. My mom's smile could light up a room, and I am forever grateful I get my smile from her.
She took one day at a time, bravely handling the enormous emotional and mental weight she woke up under each day, until her death on January 28, 2006 at the age of 62.
“Words Matter”, an oil painting of a young man in his mid twenties is the second in my series. The painting speaks directly to the issue of bullying and the long term effects it can cause for an individual. The young man’s intense gaze is not directly to the viewer, as he is avoiding eye contact. His shoulders are squared and perhaps rigid as the messages he lives with daily are written in the pattern of his sweater. His choice of clothing is irrelevant because the messages are present because he wears the deep scars caused by being bullied.
I want viewers to see all of society in this young man, to realize the impact bullying causes and the reality of the tragedy it creates within individuals, families, and communities. Perhaps the viewer will even see their life in this young man. My hope is that each viewer will open their heart and will feel whatever arises in the moment as he or she contemplates the effects of bullying.
This painting was accepted for the 2016 FL3TCH3R Exhibition and I was thrilled it won one of the two Awards of Excellence (equivalent to second place)
"Second Chances" is the third in the series, and it speaks loudly. Cancer effects everyone in society either directly or indirectly. The graphic nature of this painting brings to light the raw and real fears, internal anguish, and immense pain a person experiences when given the diagnosis of cancer, is treated, and survives the treatment.
Cancer can feel like a cage, like spikes and briers. Can I...will I survive?
The underlying message given to me by two friends, both named Helen who are survivors, was the importance of remaining hopeful and to be an advocate and not a victim. This indomitable attitude of living is inspiring and noteworthy.
There are over 15 million Americans alive with a history of cancer. Approximately 39% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. More men die from cancer than women and 171 per 100,000 men and women will die each year.
My father died from cancer over two years after his diagnosis.
This painting continues the intense personal connection I have as an artist to this series of paintings.
“I STILL HAVE DREAMS”, an oil painting of a young boy with two of his crayon drawings speaks to the serious issue of child abuse and neglect. After lengthy research of psychiatric journals and various organizations that work to address the issue, I printed many of the signs that point to abuse and neglect and I placed them all around the sides of the canvas and wrapped it around to the front.
The text gives the viewer concrete signs and symptoms of possible neglect and abuse of children. The boy's drawings are indicative of drawings abused children create. His gaze is just to your left, avoiding direct eye contact. His intense gaze expresses a myriad of thoughts and emotions. What do you see in his eyes? The title of the painting is a double entendre. Does the boy still have dreams of the past or current pain or does he still have dreams of what his life could be far from his current confinement? The intentional space around him represents separation and his isolation as well as the invisible cage that surrounds his existence. I STILL HAVE DREAMS...
CLICK HERE for photos of the sides and top text views.
"LOOK AT ME" OIL - 16X20
2017 - 2018
"SECOND CHANCES" OIL - 16X20
2016 - 2017
“LOOK AT ME" is the best title for this painting. The word above the man's head says it all and it evokes thoughts and emotions that may arise more often than realized.
Isn't it difficult to look a homeless person in the eye? I think so.
However, each person on the street is as real and valuable as you and me. They need understanding, compassion, information, and assistance. Homelessness is an issue in every state of our nation.
This is a portrait of Eddie who was homeless in Pennsylvania. This summer I became acquainted with Eddie and was thrilled to learn he is no longer homeless and living on the street. He sent me a message telling me that viewing the photo of my painting was like looking in the mirror four years ago. Today, Eddie is involved in the lives of his children, grandchildren, is in a 12 step program, and helps others become involved in recovery programs.
"WORDS MATTER" OIL - 16X20
"I STILL HAVE DREAMS" OIL - 16X20