Black fine artist specializing in digital portraiture.
I’ve been an artist all my life. From a little girl scribbling on the walls of Mama Annie’s house to a young woman at Spelman College sketching portraits, I have been drawn to art. Most of my early sketches were based on models in beauty advertisements, on fashion magazine covers, or even photographs from “Scavullo on Beauty.” I drew, sketched, painted a variety of faces.
Most of those faces were not black. In a practical sense those photos, ads, and covers helped me to become a better artist and at the same time opened my eyes even more so to the invisible. For the most part black women were missing. It wasn’t that they weren’t there; I just couldn’t find them. As an artist, I must have asked myself “Am I invisible too ?” I guess I create portraits with both in mind.
Portraiture is a way to state what I think is beautiful. My portraits feature our features, our textures, our hues, our eyes, our lips, our hair, our shapes in a fine quiet beauty. It’s my way of uncovering all of the beautiful black faces that were hidden from view. I strive to help them boldly emerge from the shadows and step into the spotlight. Usually, my portraits are not based on any particular person but more of an amalgamation of people or faces and more or less represent characters. Currently, I sell giclee prints featuring digital art on Etsy.com and am working on a variety of original paintings.
Focus on skin color is one the key elements of my art because for us as black people, our skin has historically been a definitive part of who we are and how we are identified and defined. My art happily depicts the wide range of colors in the black family.
I also like to focus on the two most expressive parts of the face which are the eyes and mouth. Of course the mouth is literally our earliest and easiest form of expression. So depicting the lips, teeth, and mouth is a very important part of communicating any portrait. Yet I tend to key in on the eyes in order to show emotion. They are the first thing I draw, and they are often too big and out of proportion with the rest of the piece. Because eyes can deeply depict emotion even a slight nudge of the brow can change the meaning of an expression. I use the eyes to try to draw out so much of the emotion in a painting.
Geography also influences my style. I have lived on the front range of the Rocky Mountains for mostly the last twenty years. The stark contrast between the flattened endless high prairie and the steep towering mountains touching the big blue sky has greatly inspired me. I feel free to use large areas of flat color, simple lines, and bold shapes. At the same time many irregular almost organic angles are prevalent which complement my modern minimalistic style.
To me, a blank page or canvas is just a stage for these shapes, colors, and lines to unite into forms - forms that intend to shape a person’s view about art into a “I need this in my life. On my walls. In my home. Because I love art too!”
In the black community, we often connect to the arts through music, dance, and fashion. As a black woman, I connect to the arts through drawing and painting, and as an artist I wish to help more African Americans connect in this way. I want to use my art and my self as a conduit, as a bridge. That’s where I the artist come in, bridging the gap between the black woman and man and the paintbrush, the black portrait and the canvas, the black home and the fine arts.