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As an introspective child, I always wondered what it was like to be someone else, especially someone who was outwardly so different than I. I pondered all the characteristics that comprised the person I knew as “me” and the seemingly random choice of circumstances that made up my world. During the years of marriage and child-rearing, that curiosity waned in the midst of a busy life; yet it was never far from the surface of my consciousness.
I didn’t begin my study of painting in the conventional way, building one skill upon another in preparation for the most challenging of subjects–the human figure. Instead, I was drawn to portraiture from the beginning, an interest that eventually grew into a passion. A portrait is not simply a surface rendering; it is a sacred map for a journey of discovery. I feel a human connection with the people I paint, and while I may never see them again, I have become a part of them and they have become a part of me.
The more I learn about those who are so different from me, the more I discover my own identity. These indigenous peoples have blessed me with life-altering images that I wish to share with others. The people I have painted are real; their portraits are not reflections or ghosts from the past or whimsical depictions of life on other continents. Each portrait bears witness to the diversity of our world’s ethnic groups and, unfortunately, to their precarious existence.
Surrounded as I often am with the gloss and glitter of our material society, I have learned to appreciate my life more deeply from those who respect their fellow human beings, their Mother Earth, and their gods. Most importantly, I have learned that their lives are worthy of and, indeed, demand this artist’s brush. My hope is that as you look into each subject’s face, you will see a reflection of your own.