The painting above is of my mom with her brand new car in 1956, that she bought with her own money earned from working a professional job. (For 60 years, my dad carried in his wallet the black and white photo I used to make this painting)
She told me that when I was a baby, she was passed over for a promotion—even though the boss admitted she was better qualified for the job—because he had to give it to a man, even though that man was less qualified. After all, he had a family to feed. My mom was supporting us at that time while my dad went to school. She asked the boss man, “what about my family?” Perhaps because I was a girl-child, I didn’t need to eat much?
My mom is one of my heroes. I can only hope to ever measure up to her intelligence, compassion, dedication, and love.
The above painting is of Margaret, the wife of a very fine painter. She and her husband told me that she helped put him through art school by being a model. She helps run the half of his business that doesn’t involve painting, and is raising their young children. When I painted this picture, I kept thinking of her as the heart of their family, as well as the heart of the sea.
She still models for him.
This is my beautiful niece. I convinced her to pose for me one warm summer day. She was very young; I wanted to capture that fear of being a young woman setting out in the strange and sometimes frightening world. 5 years later, she’s planning a wander year, still a little anxious, but bravely planning her journeys. I worry about her. I know that the world is not always kind to young women, and yet, I want her to make her way with bravery and joy.
This little girl was at her first stepdancing exhibition. She was about 6 years old, and the only beginner to dance at the show. But she bravely marched out and danced her sevens and one-two-threes by herself, soloing on the edge of a world that holds promise as well as dread. I hope that she dances through a world that gives her a chance.
To all women still turning the wheel, I salute us. To the men who love us, I salute you too. It’s sometimes a hard wheel to turn; let’s work together on making it revolve.