Last year, I found an image of a young boy from Tanzania on Pixabay and was so moved by his expression that I was compelled to paint him. Pixabay is an image-sharing site for the creative community. Artists/Photographers post copyright-free images for each other’s use. In our current, racially charged culture, I felt like this little boy’s face expressed fear, consternation, determination – and ultimately, hope. I added the colorful abstract shapes around him to add a sense of innocence, joy and thoughtfulness.

"Hope" 36"x24" oil on canvas

"Hope" 36"x24" oil on canvas

The painting won the “People’s Choice Award” at the Plano 2017 art show and was on display at the Art Center of Plano. I was honored to receive the award but the most touching honor came from children touring the show. This email came from Keri Fleming, the event coordinator at the Center:

I have shared HOPE with so many children!  They love this little boy!  He speaks to them and connects on personal levels. 

I have attached a photo of the little boy that I shared the story about his interpretation of HOPE. I will remember him always. His story has been shared with many others who have toured. The painting seems to come alive with visions of little ones’ futures.   

Thank you for giving of yourself to others through your art. I hope you enjoy the photo as much as I have enjoyed sharing HOPE!


Set On the Path

In 1969 I tried to draw the portrait (by Manuel Gregorio Acosta) of Cesar Chavez on the cover of TIME magazine. I sat at a TV tray in our living room with a pencil and sketch pad struggling to get a likeness. I was ready to give it up but my mom encouraged me to finish it. For a first try, not too shabby. I entered it in the White Rock Elementary School student art show and to my surprise it won first place.

Mom congratulating me on winning first place in my elementary school art show.

Mom congratulating me on winning first place in my elementary school art show.

Am I an artist? Hell yes.

Seeking Wisdom

My exploration of the human condition has taken a few twists and turns. In 1989 I became a hospice volunteer and was awarded “Volunteer of the Year” in 1990. The director of volunteers and I became good friends. She asked me why I decided to be a volunteer. I told her I thought I might be able to glean deep insights and wisdom from those facing the abyss of death. She responded that she had been working with the dying a long time and had learned that “People who live like assholes die like assholes.” I had gleaned the wisdom I sought.