painted stories

Climate change displacement:  her-story documents the data” (24″x36″)      She writes: “I am currently in the middle of a move. This is entirely by choice. It is not lost on me that there are tens of millions of climate refugees each year, people escaping from climate-related crises. They have no choice. I remember being told by one of my college professors that I need to choose between being a scientist and being an advocate. I believe, however, that when it comes to climate science, scientists must also be advocates in some form. By advocating for science, we advocate for our tired travelers bearing the brunt of the climate crisis. We do not have the luxury of silence any longer and we cannot afford complacency, especially those of us in privileged situations.”

“Saving the planet’s biodiversity ‘one turtle at a time.’ Schroon Lake, NY” (24”x36”)     When it comes to conservation, Debbie walks the line between science and spirituality and hopes in some small way to bridge the gap. She teaches yoga, practices shamanism, and, as a wildlife rehabilitator, tries to save the planet’s biodiversity, one turtle at a time, so that we all can thrive.

“The moment you understand white privilege and decide to act for the greater good” (18”x36”)     Bruce often reflects on the freedoms and access to opportunity he takes for granted knowing that many of his friends of color have vastly different experiences. He is a strong advocate for justice. Prejudice of all kinds is a “button” that those that know him know not to push.

“It didn’t have to be this bad. Friday, July 10, 2020—125,590 dead.” (18”x36”)     Summer writes: “My job altered… income decreased, a quarantine break-up… isolation. I’m going to move and move again by the summer’s end. My lot’s fortunate, compared to many tragic aftermath situations. But, yes, even in this nook of northern New York, I acknowledge the effects; I was buoyant before and now I’m daily grieving the long standing–who knows how long it’ll last–disruption.”

“From the Warsaw Ghetto to Lake Clear, NY: Never Again” (16”x20”)     Dana’s father died in the Holocaust, and she credits many courageous citizens forsmuggling her, and many other young children of Jewish descent, to safety. Dana is outspoken, well-educated, and professionally accomplished, but the 45th president’s dog whistles to the Proud Boys and neo-Nazi groups is a “little close to home” and devastating.

The day we were sent home to stay home. March 13, 2020. Essex County, NY.” (36″x48″)      First we were told to stay home for two weeks. Then we were told that everyone would be working online until May. We spent the days scouring the internet for news, guidelines, numbers. This is a portrait of my mother—her last six months of living were spent in isolation during the pandemic.

‘Persuadables’ of Cambridge Analytica” (16″x20″)     I was moved by this couple’s thoughtful questioning when I met them. And I was convinced that this was true, too, of all they said and heard: Persuading is an art but being persuaded is a choice.

Open your eyes and you will see us: Proud of my Latinx roots”  (24″x36″)     Maria remembers when, as a young child, her family was concerned that they might not be welcome in what her mother cautioned was the “deep rural north.”  She also remembers, years later, as her mother thanked a local business for a car repair, their knowingly reply was “you are one of us.” Here, at the library, Maria continues to teach the culture and news of her ancestral home, Puerto Rico. (Upper Jay, NY)

Watching the healthcare debate: No pre-existing conditions allowed” (24″x36″)    Johanna and Nathaniel are my twin niece and nephew, and at the time this painting was made they were just shy of their 18th birthday. Johanna has a preexisting condition that may exclude her from health insurance once she ages beyond eligibility for her father’s health insurance. Johanna and Nathaniel are very concerned that without insurance she will not be able to receive proper health care.

The Young Madonna Appealing to a Moral World Community” (24″x36″)    In this painting Shavon is questioning that a moral world community is even possible. All the time (she says) she reads that young black men are being killed by police who then are acquitted. But “people don’t want to read that news”.

Why I Can’t Talk About Race to White People” (14″x26″)    This former student at North Community College is demonstrating what it feels like to be a black person living in the mostly white community of Lake Placid and attending college in Saranac Lake. This drawing was made in response to the death of Travon Martin.

6 Things You Need To Know This Morning” (18″x36″)    Matthew is an avid researcher (having majored in English Composition in college), and I would often see him reading multiple online newspapers and blogs in his effort to stay informed. He believes that facts create patterns and truths that are self-evident, and that everyone is capable of doing and learning from basic research. (Upper Jay, NY)

Waiting for the Philosopher King” (18″x36″)    This is my husband, Bruce. He majored in Government and English at Hamilton and Middlebury Colleges. He thinks that Plato made a compelling argument in The Republic that requirements for leadership in public offices should be wisdom, integrity, courage, and a humanities education. Each evening, Bruce scours the Internet for evidence that a Philosopher King is somewhere waiting to be noticed and called to lead.

The Moment You Realize that ‘The Emperor Has no Clothes,’ 11-8-2016” (18″x36″)     Jim is a good man who served his country and has always provided for his family. FOX News was the only news media allowed in the breakroom at the military base where he worked for over twenty-five years, and it is the only news media that he will listen to now that he is retired. Jim refuses to use a smart phone and limits his computer use because he is afraid that he will be spied on.

Taking a Knee for Justice” (18″x36″)   Larry and Jan have been married for over thirty years. Many years ago, Larry’s grandfather was lynched in Alabama. Larry “will never step foot in Alabama,” but he will always take a knee for justice.

Ending the Cycle” (18″x36″)    This is Jon with his daughter, a high school student. He jokes a lot with her and calls her “the girl,” and she jokes with him right back. She is a fierce ice hockey player and Jon never misses a game. Jon earned two degrees at North Country Community College and received awards for his academics. Jon also served two tours during the Iraq War. He is a hero with many medals and many guns, but if anyone could convince Jon to agree to gun control or give up his guns completely it is “the girl.” (Tupper Lake, NY)

Just vote—but not against your own interests” (16″x20″)    This view of my father shows how I saw him when I was a small child and, because of my small size, had to look up at him. My father read the newspaper and watched NBC News every night. He said his biggest sadness was knowing that people in poor rural areas continually vote against their own interests, and that he hoped they “smartened up.”  In this painting, he has my smart phone in his shirt pocket. He was very interested in Internet research. The forest was shrinking but the trees kept voting for the axe as its handle was made of wood and they thought it was one of them. –Turkish proverb

Fact Checking” (16″x20″)     Bruce and Stephen are generally cautious about what they read and hear and do a lot of fact-checking. This is a scene in our household that I see many mornings. The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those that speak it. –George Orwell

Podcast Meditation” (16″x20″)     This is my close friend Kathy. Sometimes when she feels saturated with online articles, she unplugs and listens to podcasts. I’ve started to do that, too. One of my favorites is Ideas.

Connecting to the Protest” (16″x20″)    For more years than I care to remember, Bruce would write letters to various local elected leaders pleading with them to advocate for the people in their districts. This letter is being written to Elise Stefanik.

An Independent Woman is Nothing to Fear” (16″x20″)   Leslie and Charles have a home in Lake Placid. Leslie is a principled woman with strong opinions. Charles is also principled with strong opinions and values this quality not only in his wife, but in all women. Charles sees nothing wrong with electing a woman president.

Culture Wars: Education is the Antidote” (16″x20″)    This was a commissioned painting. The title I chose is intended to honor this couple’s years of teaching service. (Upper Jay, NY)

Watching History Repeat: 1933, 2016” (16″x20″)    This is an image of my parents listening to the 2017 Inauguration speech online. My father, a WW II Navy veteran who served in eight major sea battles in the Pacific, was deeply troubled by what he thought was the Republican Party’s enabling of the new president. He would often shake his head in disbelief and say, “What did I fight for?”

Watching Human Rights Silently Legislated Away” (16″x20″)    Mia was a student in an art history class I taught at North Country Community College. Megan is her friend. I got to know Mia quite well and was so impressed with her intelligence and insights. Mia is well-read, well-educated, very technically savvy, and has taught me quite a few things about gender and gender identity, among other things.