"Out of Bondage II - The Domestics"
54" x 68"
Oil on Canvas
(select to enlarge)
Some may recognize these two ladies - they are actual slaves freed by the Emancipation Proclamation and were part of a larger group photographed outside a large building. It's so easy for us to look at some of those old images taken 150 years ago and gloss over the faces but they fascinate and pull me in. Considering what their lives were and more importantly, what they were to become in the perilous days ahead screamed out to me. The look of quiet resolve and defiance in the face of uncertainty made this painting a joy to render. I painted them in color against a black and white background to pull them out of the past and place them firmly amongst us - after all, everything they were is everything we are. I only wish I knew their names and could post their narratives alongside the painting to give their lives even greater meaning and context. I was lucky to have run across the slave narrative of Richard Toler - the gentleman in the first painting. If there are any historians who know who these women were, PLEASE contact me.
This may sound strange, but after painting this picture I sat with a bottle of wine in the studio and stared at their faces while listening to Nina Simone sing the blues in the background. We must have sat staring at each other for nearly two hours and it was almost as if I could hear them talking to me. It was such a melancholy moment that I didn't want to end. Maybe it was the wine, huh? I already have the next image ready to go and should have that one completed by the end of next week. I'm really looking forward to that one - it's gonna make me cry - I can feel it.
I will be creating prints of this series shortly so if anyone wants one - let me know.