From the desk of my studio to you,
I feel like everywhere I look I’m overwhelmed by negativity regarding politics. While 2017 feels like a dream come true year for me, I can’t help but notice that the world seems to be in such discord. I hope this isn’t bad timing to share with you a bit of reflection on how I have been affected by a couple of women in my life; they are both subjects in the West of Lincoln Project.
When I graduated in 1985, I had big dreams of being an artist who was going to change the world with my art. Last year, that dream started to come true.
It feels like the longest wait ever!
I have been working with individuals whose incredible life stories have empowered me to paint longer hours, and I’m more devoted to my work than ever before. I picked a group of inspiring people who grew up in Venice, CA, and then recorded our talks together. What happened between us became the magic that would fill my heart with compassion, and then flow onto my canvas with images of a world outside of myself. I witnessed their enlightened spirit and had no idea how it would turn around on me, and teach me in return. It made me realize I could use my art to tell other peoples stories that would have a positive impact on the world, just like I dreamt of over 20 years ago.
I would love to share two of these powerful stories with you.
Back in 2015, I sat down and spoke with Meta Zimmerman. She shared with me how she coped growing up with an alcoholic father. She shared that she would grow up to have a superhero ego as a way to protect her fragile heart. Even though I didn’t live with an alcoholic, I wanted to examine the superhero ego. Was this showing up in my own life?
Where was my ego in the way of being able to live the truth of who I am?
She said to me that, as an adult, she had to learn to take off her superhero cape and return to humility. I finished that painting, “I Surrender,” wondering about my own humility.
The most interesting perspective came from Gloria Omar in the painting “Place Of Strength.” Gloria was finishing up her treatment for stage 4 breast cancer when I interviewed her. My first question was, “So, how are you doing, Gloria; how do you find strength in moving through all of this?” What she told me was so surprising. She said…
“When I was a little girl, I went through way more than this cancer. When I am in treatment, I focus on myself as that little girl; my innocence made me strong then, as it does now. As a child, you don’t know any better, you go through life with hope and love. ‘Little Gloria’ is far stronger than adult Gloria.”
Tell me if that isn’t the most interesting perspective to have. And I totally got that. When I think back to being a child, I didn’t question the shit that was happening around me; I had a sense of trust and faith and I moved forward as if life would too. And life has moved forward. Now I think about my childlike innocence as a pillar of strength when I need it.
Thank you so much for listening; it feels so good to reflect and share this with you.
These paintings are for sale, and…. 50% of all sales goes to supporting free, high-impact arts education & mentoring for low-income youth in Venice and Los Angeles. If you are interested in one of these paintings, just reply and I will send you prices for you to consider, as well as an invitation to the reception on August 5, 2017.
I would like to acknowledge the other amazing women in this project, Rhonda Lynn Wise, Elaine Leslie, and myself, Ruth Chase.
Text above of VENICE was drawn by Ric Clayton