As this country collectively celebrates the birthday of its independence, I individually, inwardly and silently celebrate my freedom to continue being an artist who is also an African-American female artist.
It is a freedom evolving from a personal journey which has sometimes been lonely, long, uncertain and not without criticism and failure. It is a journey in which I have created art in the most challenging circumstances, including raising three children alone while working a full-time job and embarking upon an art career late in life without any mentors - these later appeared from the most unlikely sources.
Thankfully, my love of the work has kept me going, binding me to it regardless of circumstances or the disappointments often inherent in being an artist. I feel fortunate in having learned this lesson because it has allowed me to continue producing art when it would have been easier to simply give up. Had I done so, a part of me would have died and I would not have known the joy of expressing my truth (however unpopular it might seem to some) while attracting an audience who understands what I am saying.
For me, the primary freedom that comes with being an artist is that I will continue to celebrate in my paintings those subjects which matter to me, and which span a broad scope spiritually, culturally and universally. Given that I most enjoy my work during the painting process, I think it is only right to paint what I want to paint.
Freedom begins in the soul, emanating outwardly. As an artist, I will continue to express this freedom and give thanks to the universe for being such a wise and loyal co-partner in my continuing journey as an artist.