In 1999 I was widowed. It took some adjustment to leave the working world but by 2000, I was studying painting and drawing full-time with the great painter and educator Graham Nickson at The New York Studio School on 8th Street in Manhattan. It was a glorious two years of rigorous work, Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm, with frequent critiques well into the night. I was back to my roots. Having attended Art & Design High School on 57th Street in NYC where I majored in sculpture, I felt like I was where I was supposed to be. My college education was at Washington University where I majored in history but took lots of art classes. Senior year I became the Art Director of the student newspaper called ‘Student Life’. Professionally, I was an art director for 25 years - all my working life - and for the most part, never could quite believe I got paid for what I did. There were fabulous art directors who hired me like Roger Black at ‘Rolling Stone Magazine’ and John Berg at ‘CBS Records’ who alternately pushed me and praised me. I always felt like a little kid with a box of crayons getting a big paycheck to play. I would be remiss not to mention Maxime Bugzester, a European painter I studied with twice a week in his studio on West 56th street in Manhattan since junior high school. He nurtured my feeling of needing to paint and encouraged me, a very young painter, early on.
The Muses / aka The Welcoming Committee / are inspired by my 96 year old father who raises both arms in a welcoming gesture when he sees me. The current Muses project started with a full figure portrait of him making that gesture, but quickly morphed into a second and then third figure. I had a conundrum about the male / female configuration and eventually landed on three females. They are known as beauty, charm (my read - strength) and grace after the Greek Mythology of the Three Graces, named Aglaia, Thalia, and Euphrosyne. They echo my father, or he echoes them. The world could use more of their wisdom; the modern interpretation being whatever the reader likes, but mine is the following: life is beautiful, kindness translates into paying it forward and grace be it for 'whomever you believe in,' there go I.
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