50 years ago yesterday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated at 6:01pm on the balcony of his room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. That day, we lost one of the greatest leaders in history.
And with all that has happened in the interim: from wars to peace protests, from globalization to technological advancements; Dr. King’s messages of equality and civil rights and non-violence remain relevant. Yet, no leader of the same caliber and reach has emerged in his absence. Where are today’s leaders, who can push society forward in greater increments, the way Dr. King did?
Two weeks ago, in Washington DC, a little girl from Alexandria stood in front of the nation at the March For Our Lives rally, and spoke her mind:
Her name is Naomi Wadler, and she’s eleven years old. Please watch her speech below:
Regardless of where you stand on gun violence (and at the very least, I’d like to think we are all united in wanting to curtail needless deaths, even if the methodology is often a point of contention), it is undeniable that this young lady is incredibly well-spoken, and brave, for being so young and articulating her thoughts on a national stage, and for organizing a walkout at her elementary school.
And while I would never compare a child to any of our great leaders of the past, every leader was once a child too, and seeing our young people stand up for what they believe in this way, gives me great hope for the future, and for a better world. We need more children (and adults) like Naomi! I hope she continues to speak out and make a difference; she has tremendous potential.
I hope you like my drawing of this incredible little girl; please feel free to share it! At this time it is not for sale.
Hello my loves,
As Women’s History Month comes to a close, I wanted to share one of my recent sculptures, focused on the female form, which is currently drying in my studio & awaiting a coat of varnish and a patina: “Objectification (I).”
If you have a moment, here is her story:
In the aftermath of the #MeToo movement earlier this year, I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be a woman, in a culture where sexual predation still occurs, yet somehow has been ignored in certain sectors, for so very long. Especially since I have been working in the entertainment industry as a television host for the past 13 years, and even having been introduced to the “casting couch” myself (to which I said “No thank you, I’ll pass” lol), the entire movement hit very close to home.
This sculpture, a nude woman, her face neatly removed as if through a futuristic, bloodless surgery, and placed by her feet, is not so much about sexual assault in and of itself, as much as it’s about the erasure of women’s identities, in the midst of all these accusations and public outcry. It’s about how it feels to be exposed to the world, with one’s story of sexual abuse or harassment, and being made into just one of a huge number of interchangeable women – angry women, mistreated women, scared women, women who were in the wrong place at the wrong time, or women labeled as just plain stupid, or manipulative even, for having been in these situations in the first place, and for either disclosing, or not disclosing, after the fact (and in many cases – you are wrong no matter which you choose).
It’s the objectification not of the body, but of the mind & of the soul, which leaves one naked and alone, even as we stand strong, and our voices rise together; so that we remain faceless, in the aftermath of a movement that we put so much hope into, and of which we have yet to see what the far-reaching outcomes will be.
Once the sculpture is completely dried and a patina applied, I will post more about her, with some video of the process, which if you have ever casted a clay sculpture in plaster, you know is quite an ordeal hehe!
Thank you so much for reading, and if you’d like to place a bid on this piece before it’s done (thus securing her for yourself in advance) please contact me here.
Happy Tuesday! I hope everyone is having a great day so far — I definitely am! I recently got to visit the house of one of my collectors, and LOOK — two of my “Rebirth” wine bottles from back in 2011!
It felt so good to see them displayed in a loving home setting, and to pick them up and remember all the time it took to paint them (30 hours just to paint the one with the eye – “New Sight Blooms”), not to mention how proud I felt to do all that work knowing 100% of the proceeds would benefit charity.
When I was first approached by Rawhouse Wine to paint these bottles, I was really excited, but honestly I was also overwhelmed, because I have a very detailed painting style, and I knew that painting six bottles, to the high standards I hold myself to, would be over 100 hours of work, and for free, since they were auctioned off for a children’s art & music charity.
But then I thought about when I was a child, and how badly I wanted to be an artist, but the NYC public school system was always cutting arts education, making it nearly impossible for me to get access to the training I needed. And I realized that I have to the power to help other little kids just like who I was all those years ago. So, I buckled down, joined team #nosleep lol, and I did it! And if I remember correctly, it was down to the wire and I was delivering the finished bottles something like the day before the auction, and up to the last minute, I still didn’t know if I’d be able to finish.
After the auction, I took two of the beautiful professional photos that Rod Savant took of the bottles, and sold them at an art show to benefit Artistic Dreams International, another children’s charity that I actually used to volunteer for, teaching drawing to underprivileged kids up in Harlem.
So you can imagine all the emotions I felt when I saw these two pieces again, still holding a place of honor in a home, so many years later. This is the legacy I wish to leave behind: Beautiful art & loving philanthropy, always.
What is the legacy you wish to leave behind? Perhaps there is something we can collaborate on, to help the community, and bring more beauty into the world? Feel free to leave a comment below, or message me here. I’d love to hear from you!
Happy Dr. Martin Luther King Jr Day!
Every year on this day we reflect back on the life and the legacy of Dr. King: his mission to create equality and ease the suffering of those who are unfairly treated, because of their skin color, their gender, or their creed. Today more than ever his message is needed, and even though he is no longer with us, there are organizations that are fulfilling his Dream, one day at a time.
For almost 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. They have been battling in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the Constitution’s promise of equal liberty for everyone in our country: from fighting for free speech, to immigrant’s rights, to fighting against discrimination — in short, they uphold many of the same ideals as Dr. King did, in his lifetime.
If you would like to contribute to their cause, and have a postcard of your own, please find out more here».
In addition, here are two other charities which I urge you to check out; they are contributing to the cause of the Dreamers, and they can use all the help they can get:
Thank you so much for reading, and have a blessed day!
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sending you all love on #MLKDAY
My art is a tee! I’m so thrilled about how well this turned out — I’m going to wear this every day for the rest of the summer! If you’d like one for yourself, they’re on sale here».
Quote: “There is nothing like a Dream to create the Future.” – Victor Hugo
It’s not always easy to find time to paint when I’m running around on camera. But it’s not for naught, because all that I’ve experienced helps me to refine my vision for one of my upcoming series.
This morning I dug out this unfinished painting, “Beauty Blinded,” from a few years ago; I’m not sure yet if I want to finish it or start anew. It’s part of that series I just mentioned, which I’ve been dreaming a lot about lately: Women + Mass Media (working title, hehe). After nearly eleven years working onscreen, I’ve seen for myself how this business affects us; both those of us in front of the camera, as well as those watching at home. And it’s something worth examining.
Growing up, I was taught that a person’s most important characteristics lie within: intelligence, talent, kindness and strength of character are traits to strive for. So I worked hard, earned top grades, and practiced my art & musical instruments with diligence. Focused in this way, I found little use for personal beautification, and that coupled with coke-bottle glasses and my nerdy nature, made for a rather homely presentation; but it did not bother me, because I knew I was a good person and that’s all that mattered.
Fast forward to many years later, I suddenly found myself on television — an unexpected turn that surprised me as much as anyone else. And I quickly discovered, that in this business, it’s not what’s inside that counts. In this industry, the most important thing is to be “beautiful.” And mind you, being beautiful on television, isn’t the same as being beautiful in real life. In real life, we think our friends, our mothers & sisters, our grandmothers & daughters, are beautiful not just because of the color of their eyes or shape of their face, but based on the content of their hearts. But on television, as in most mass media, beauty is very rigidly and narrowly defined. Despite talk of body positivity running rampant, so many of my colleagues are cutting themselves up with plastic surgery: I can’t tell you how many friends of mine didn’t “make it big” until after a boob job. Meanwhile, I myself have been admonished for the tiniest blemish (Horrors! An imperfection lol!), and then praised when I lost weight, even though I’m already quite thin. Rather like a dog who has retrieved a ball — “Good girl!” they say. Am I? Am I good? Because this kind of praise, as condescending as it is vacuous, doesn’t feel good.
And what about the viewers at home? What about the people connived into believing that their air-brushed celebrity crushes are as perfect as they appear, or that they too, at home, should aspire to squeeze and alter themselves to fit an unrealistic ideal in the name of self-improvement? And in my personal experience as a math & SAT tutor, I have discovered that so many little girls are more concerned with being pretty & popular rather than being smart, or even just being good human beings.
These conversations and thoughts are not new. We’ve been discussing this for decades. And when I was a child, my parents did not allow me to watch much television, in part for these very reasons — in my home, gender roles, unrealistic beauty standards, and the dangers of mass media consumption were topics for discussion. But now, having experienced first-hand the pressures that we, the women behind the scenes in media, are actually exposed to, I have something I’d like to add.
Working in the media, I could make a documentary about this subject, or conduct interviews; I could write a report or make a YouTube series. But since I am an artist first, perhaps I’ll just put brush to canvas and see where that leads me.
Thanks for reading, and as I’ve often said on the air, stay tuned.
The past few months have been a journey. It began with my first visit to France at the end of the summer, and ended with the terror attacks in Paris a couple weeks ago. Physically incapacitated, I’ve certainly had a lot of time to mull it all over.
I visited the south of France with my fiance and my best friend in late summer. We stayed near Cannes with a gracious friend whose home was warm and inviting; the countryside was deliriously beautiful and full of natural charm. We stayed only a few days before catching a train to Paris, but not before…
I was bitten on the back of my ankle in the woods by some kind of arachnid, or so I thought. It was a horrible bite, a huge mound of pus and blood, with a large irregular rash all around it. In the center, like an angry volcano, rose a black mass, like a scab but darker. I couldn’t get a good look at it myself, and my traveling companions were understandably grossed out. They promised to take me to a pharmacy once we got to the capital.
In Paris I was soon distracted by the culture and the vibe. My entire foot was swollen at this point, but who cared? I was in PARIS! We toured the Louvre, strolled the gardens of the Palace of Versailles, and sketched along the river Seine (see drawing above).
And that is how I like to remember Paris: Gorgeous, full of life, art & joy. An escape from the banal stresses of NYC.
But when I returned home to the States, I was here barely a week before things weren’t quite right with me. It started with body aches and a fever, which soon rose to nearly 104 degrees, and persisted for 3 weeks. And for the weeks and months that followed, I was on bed rest 80% of the time, with everything from a stiff neck so bad I could neither lie down nor sit up, vision problems, severe migrating arthritis to the point where I couldn’t walk or even hold a pencil; to bronchitis and laryngitis, rendering me mute. My sister had to come and live with us for over a month, as I could no longer take care of myself, and out of two plus months, I was well enough to work for only 3 days. A normally healthy person, I’d never been so sick in my life, and never for so long. As you can imagine, I was fairly freaked out.
Finally, a few weeks ago, I was still ill, but well enough to start catching up on correspondence and make more regular visits to the specialists who have been working on my medical case. The consensus seems to be that it is Lyme Disease; however since I was bitten in Europe, the bacteria can’t be detected with US lab test; apparently they are completely different strains. I was advised to return to France to get screened with the proper tests, and was seriously considering it until…
The terror attacks.
I don’t have words to describe the sorrow and outrage I feel at what was done to our sister nation across the Atlantic. Paris had seemed like this inviolable oasis of beauty and gaiety. Picnics with wine and cheese along the river’s edge; dance parties all night long; and art galleries back to back along the main drag, so numerous you could never visit them all in one trip. How could they do this to Paris? How could they murder all of those wonderful people in cold blood, in the City of Light of all places?
My heart goes out to all who suffered losses that night. As a New Yorker, I know all too well the fear and the anxiety, the heartbreaking insanity of it all. I just never thought it would happen in Paris. I had wanted to move there eventually; to get away from the danger I perceived as pervading my hometown. Now I see, no city is safe. God rest all of the departed, and bless their families and loved ones. I’m so very, very sorry.
So what’s the point of my writing all of this?
Well, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I have to admit, I’d been feeling rather sorry for myself lately. Up until recently I couldn’t work, speak or hold a pencil. I still have no diagnosis and thus likely have weeks more ahead filled with specialists and tests, and no telling what new symptoms might arise. Some days are good healthwise, and other days…not so much.
But you know what? I’m ALIVE. And when over a hundred innocent people in the city I just visited and love so much can no longer say that, I realize I have so much to be grateful for. I don’t know if I’ll regain full use of my hands, or if this is some kind of undiagnosed autoimmune disease, similar to Lupus, that will stay with me until my last breath, but at least I can breathe! That’s a gift!!
So even if I might have to learn new ways to follow my dreams, I’m grateful this Thanksgiving. In the end, every day is a blessing, and I feel blessed to make it another day.
Wishing you all a Happy Thanksgiving. Sending love <3, God bless.
Playing around with Photoshop and my latest live model sketch. First image is the original drawing; added the smile & eye movements on the computer ;).
Almost done with this digital painting; I block in the flat colors first (inset), then add layers of shading to give it life. I love drawing/painting strong female characters! Hope you guys are having a great start to your week.