We share this world, this time, this space, together. And yet, there is difference and indifference among us. Our waters and mountains estrange us; our culture, our socio-economic status, our race, our opinions and our religion are tools to separate us.
But we have been created to seek connection. We crave it. Almost three years ago, I flew over waters and mountains to a different land to adopt our two Ethiopian daughters. Borne out of my desire to adopt, I had only an inkling of how this journey would take me beyond myself.
Adoption was, for me, a confluence of cultures, of races, of continents—of differences. It was also a confluence of isolation and community, aloneness and togetherness.
In most of my paintings, you’ll see that trees are the focal point. Often alone, these trees represent my identification with the isolated state of that solitary, parentless child—alone, without touch, without parental love. Clustered together, the collective impact of that aloneness is both startling in its shared aloneness and in its shared community.
The techniques I’ve combined on these canvases also represent a confluence—between my background in fine art and my commercial career in painting decorative interiors. Using many of the same materials that I apply to walls, I use them here to create textured finishes that layer plaster, drywall mud, paint and glazes.
Connecting with our world, going beyond our knowns is difficult. But each one of us has wonderful opportunities to connect beyond ourselves, to risk the confluence of worlds. And in so doing, our lives are forever enriched when we take the risk to belong.
"If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other." Mother Teresa