Photo credit: Jeanette Stokes, 2011

Photo credit: Jeanette Stokes, 2011

about me

Writing, reading, pondering, painting. How I like to spend my time. Exploring the world with my granddaughters. Until my retirement in 2012 I taught international studies at Duke University. I started painting in 2004 and in the last years loved to incorporate my newfound interest in image-making with my students I also loved working with them on writing projects, especially their senior theses. Since my retirement I have used my editing skills in support of the work of the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South, in my hometown, Durham, NC. Currently, I am working on a manuscript about what I have learned from pondering what it means to be white—or to "think that I am white"—in the US today.

[Quote from James Baldwin via Ta-Nehisi Coates]

making art

My paintings reflect my interaction with the world at any given moment.  Why do I paint?  Because it gives me pleasure, when I allow myself to do it, to break through the cage of my thoughts and judgments and just do it.  I often start with the question  “I wonder what happens if I do this?” Or I start with random experimentation, and then something catches the attention of discursive mind and it starts to frame the bare bones of a story, starts to guide the process, but still without a lot of what I learned to call “thinking” and without much interaction with language.  It feels like there is a delicate balance between action and thought, between the pulse of energy and idea. Painting gives me the opportunity to practice just being.  And more.  It allows me to practice the integration of being and doing, something that should be a fundamental component of our birthright, something that many of us lose on our way to growing up.  In this way painting becomes an act of recovery.  I know that everything I experience goes into the work even though it is not recognizable on the canvas, and I am fairly certain that this process does not employ language as a tool.  Painting gives visual representation to the way the world works on me.  The way it flows through me, using the channels of my senses, goes deep into the body for processing, and reemerges through color and motion.  In particular I am interested in juxtaposition, mystery, paradox, that which cannot be fully explained.  I do not know what the images say to others, or for the most part to myself.  At least, I cannot usually tell any of us with words.

Feb 4, 2014.jpg