Choosing Subject Matter

Latest Posts

Using Oil Painting to Cope With Violence

Much of my work centers around staying creative in the face of destructive cultural forces. Being positive and living with vigor (rather than with urgency which often passes for vigor) is a challenge.   Peanuts     Recently I created two panels Peanuts and Walnuts that speak to events of horrific violence. The process of… read more

Really? Another Threads Painting?

I continue to make oil paintings of spools of thread, the latest being a small 8″ X 8″ painting I finished this month.       Domestic Acts   The thread paintings speak to a little bit of my own personal crazy (of which I have loads), my unabated passion for color and the ways… read more

Capturing Vulnerability in a Portrait

I loved when my kids were teenagers! I may be one of very few parents who enjoyed this stage, but there was something about the bravado and vulnerability that many teens project, at the same time, sometimes in the same moment! that fascinate me.   A Poem or a Painting Happens Every Day   I… read more

The Visual Power of Blackness

Dark skin makes me jumpy inside. There’s a vibration to very dark skin that sets me abuzz, that makes me hear things, taste things. A story begins in my mind about survival, about how to be dark in a world that chases light. How to be black in a culture that refutes the dynamism of… read more

Why I Don’t Use Black In My Oil Paintings

Setting Up My Palette   I set out colors on my palette from dark to light. I start on the right with  magenta and cobalt blue as my darkest colors, then add permanent green, and so on until I reach titanium white all the way on the left.         Why No Black?… read more

The Best Advice My Oil Painting Instructor Ever Gave Me

Many years ago I studied oil painting with Andrew Reiss, a Brooklyn painter and instructor. A group of us set up our easels and painted together at his studio on Sunday afternoons. Andy would go from artist to artist, helping each of us perfect our skills. It was a warm, welcoming environment. We worked from… read more

Using Still Life to Make Political Commentary

As part of developing my oil painting technique, I created a series called Use in a Sentence, based on botanical prints, with their fine detail, and script that often provides genus and species. Use in a Sentence combines double meanings for words—for instance BEET (noun) and BEAT (verb), or CHARD (noun) and SHARD (verb), which… read more

Black Skin and Black Women as Subjects in Oil Painting

I’m fascinated by how much of women’s erotic energy is stymied by cultural forces, funneled into narrow sexual channels. As a black person I am acutely aware of persistent negative attitudes toward dark skin, kinky hair, and full features. The Black Antique Doll Folks often ask me ‘what’s up with the black doll?’ I found… read more