The Women is a series of paintings that are currently in progress in my studio. The series will feature 20 watercolor paintings of flowers that represent women of history, mythology, and literature. Although the flowers are painted realistically in their natural postures, each botanical subject holds a personified resemblance to its human subject. Check this page periodically to follow along as the series grows.

Zora's Janie Mae

The Women Series

Zora's Janie Mae

22"x30" Watercolor

Janie Mae Crawford is a vibrant and brave woman who looks adversity straight on and chooses her own path. From Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God, Janie is an inspiring character. She sees her girlhood dreams vanish but never gives up on her quest to find beauty and love. She holds tight to hope in miserable and adverse situations. When the opportunity presents itself, she seizes it to move closer to her vision for her life. I'm inspired by Zora Neale Hurston, who wrote this novel in the shadow of her own gender, racial and financial struggle.

Pandora

The Women Series

Pandora

30"x22" Watercolor

Many people think they know the story of Pandora and her box. But did you know that it was actually a jar from which she unleashed greed, envy, hatred, pain, disease, hunger, poverty, war, and death? And did you know that she wept afterwards? This watercolor of a coral vine feels like the way it may have looked when beautiful Pandora wept over the release of miseries into the world. How unfortunate that in many myths it is the women who bring misery.

The Women Series

Anna Karenina

28"x20" Watercolor

I first read Tolstoy's Anna Karenina in 2005. At the time, I interpreted her character as weak because she self-destructed over a man. Upon recently rereading the novel, something new appeared to me about Anna. Tolstoy may not have intended her to be a literal character at all. Instead, she seems more of a symbol for an outdated bourgeois culture. She is the antithesis of the workers in the field, the members of society who toil so that the wealthy may play. Whatever the case, I have painted her here in her extravagant beauty. A velvety black bloom that will surely wilt in summer's heat.

Cleopatra

The Women Series

Cleopatra

22"x30" Watercolor

"Cleopatra" is a full sheet watercolor painting. Its subject is a canna that is commonly called the "Cleopatra Lily". She stands among a throng of leaves that seem to bow to her majesty. This flower is actually quite tall in real life and gives a queenly vibe. However, it's obvious that the weight of her glorious petals will eventually pull her down in their heaviness, like the famous ruler Cleopatra VII, whose sadness became her death.

Ave Maria 22"x30"

The Women Series

Ave Maria

22"x30" Watercolor

We often visualize the Virgin Mary as a young mother. She is depicted that way throughout much of art history. But it is the art that depicts Mary at a later age that is most striking to me. Particularly, I am moved by Dieric the Elder's Mater Dolorosa (1480-1500). This canna seemed to hold the same sorrowful, heavy pose. You might know the song Ave Maria from memorial services. It is a song that seems to bring hope to many people. I love hearing it sung by Luciano Pavarotti. While painting this piece, I listened to many variations of Ave Maria. I can still hear the music when I see the painting.

Fearless%20Nymphaea_edited.jpg

The Women Series

Calypso: Fearless Nymphea

15"x22" Watercolor

This half-sheet painting of a floating lily began an exploration of how portraits of flowers might represent strong feminine heroes from myth, legend and modern literature. Her open posture radiates with bravery like the famous nymph, Calypso, of Homer's Odyssey who offered Odysseus immortality. In myth, Calypso used her seductive beauty powerfully. In reality, this Nymphaea oderata, as it is scientifically named, yields a similar, seductive power to captivate.