I started the “Not Alone” series two years ago. Looking at an abstract landscape I had painted, I saw, in my mind’s eye, people walking up a hill. In the painting based on that image, the background was light at the top fading to almost black at the bottom, and the figures were silhouetted against that background. Painting it, I started with the figures at the bottom with the idea that this was some kind of forced march. They hung their heads as though burdened with grief. But as I moved upwards, the figures became less beaten down. The last figure I painted was a little girl gesturing to an old man as if to say, “Come on! Let’s go.” That little girl always brought tears to my eyes. She appears in many paintings in the series.
Several other paintings in the “Not Alone” series have similar themes: people move upwards across the page, sometimes alone, sometimes in groups, but always following in each other’s footsteps.
In “Moving on,” the figures seem to be carrying their belongings with them. They appear against a background of bombed out buildings, suggesting that they are refugees fleeing a war zone.
In “Help Along the Way” groups of dark figures are guided by lighter figures, as though the memory of a friend or family member or some kind of spirit were guiding them.
More than with other work I’ve done, the ideas for these paintings have come to me unbidden. The series title “Not Alone” alludes to the idea that we are all on the same journey. In some ways we are alone, but in many other ways we are accompanied by others and guided by those who have gone before.
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