Where Time Stands Still

Where Time Stands Still

Makeshift studio in Charlotte, NC, where the Innocence Project began. Buster Love sits in a chair because this young model was afraid of dogs.

When I began this body of work in the summer of 1996, I didn’t imagine I would still be consumed by this idea of exploring innocence so many years later. If not for my sketchbook, I would not know the exact day this journey began.

 In the beginning, viewers asked if the faces in my artwork were of my children. Recently, I get more questions about my grandchildren. While I feel the same, their reflections tell me otherwise. 

 Time is such a big problem for me that I had to put a big, old-fashioned clock in the studio so I could keep track of time. While I’m working, I get lost in thought and three hours can pass between glances at the clock. I used to think I could run out of ideas, but now I’m more concerned about time.

 I once got out of a parking ticket when I used the excuse, “I’m an artist. I have no concept of time.”

 I don’t always use models for my work, but, some of the children in my paintings now have children of their own. They have graduated from college and become helicopter pilots and emergency room doctors and newspaper writers. Meanwhile, after all this time, my perspective is still in the same space, my studio.

 I don’t have offspring of my own, but I am happy the children I create go to wonderful homes.




Western Creatures

Western Creatures

As we travel across the country I am greeted with changing landscapes. When the scenery changes, so do the creatures I see. Here are a few examples of animals I photographed for my work during a recent trip out west. It’s so not Florida!

Texas Tarantula


Colorado Mule Deer


Colorado Moose


Texas Millipede


Colorado Marmots


Texas Deer Skeleton


Colorado Coyotes


Colorado Chipmunk


New Mexico Big Horn Sheep


New Mexico Antelope




The Light Show / Denver Art Museum

The Light Show / Denver Art Museum


A chandelier viewed from below

According to the museum’s description, The Light Show at the Denver Art Museum explores physical and symbolic representations of light in art through a thought-provoking narrative. The exhibition features about 250 objects drawn from the DAM’s nine curatorial departments. The Light Show focuses on the quest by humanity and artists to understand physical light in the natural world as well as metaphorical, spiritual, and divine representations of light.


Visitors in the exhibit


Casting shadows is one representation of light


The Light Show

In addition to the amazing show, The Denver Art Museum provides visitors some of the most impressive architecture and an interactive area for the kids.

Interesting architecture at the Denver Art Museum


Great interactive area for kids




Jordan Casteel Exhibition

Jordan Casteel Exhibition


A detail image from the exhibition



Emerging artist Jordan Casteel in her first, impressive major museum exhibition at the Denver Art Museum delights patrons with large-scale colorful paintings depicting people and places familiar to her. It’s amazing she, at 30-years-old, has skills beyond her years. Must be an old soul.


Patrons view the Jordan Casteel exhibition

Denver Art Museum writes, “Jordan Casteel: Returning the Gaze features nearly 30 paintings by Denver-born artist Jordan Casteel, who is now based in Harlem, New York. This presentation represents Casteel’s first major museum exhibition, and provides audiences with a first look at new work by one of the most acclaimed emerging artists working today.

The exhibition brings together a body of work made from 2014 to 2018, with new paintings that reveal Casteel’s evolving practice and a shift in subject matter ranging from cityscapes and subway scenes to women and local business owners. Casteel’s approach to selecting subjects involves walking around her neighborhood and taking photographs. By transforming these photographs into larger-than-life portraits with subtle shifts in light, bold colors, and gestural brushwork, Casteel reveals individuals and atmospheres that often go unnoticed.”



Miles and Jojo, 2015


Benyam, 2018


Large scale paintings by Jordan Casteel


Marcus and Jace, 2015




Broken Bird

Broken Bird

Mourning Dove, 48″ X 36″, (2004)


To Euripides, the Greek dramatist, birds were “messengers of the gods.” Scholars say birds, like butterflies, represent human souls as they abandon physical bodies at the moment of death.

These post-mortem portraits evolved from the gathering of visual elements for my work in narrative portraits. As I posed these delicate breathless creatures in the studio, they visually came to life, seemingly a rebirth, of sorts, symbolizing their everlasting purity and grace. Besides providing a commentary on nature’s fragility, this series celebrates their existence and intrinsic beauty. By placing a crown on them, I hope to remind viewers of the value of life, however small.

After several years’ work on this series, my father saw one of the still life portraits and told me that I spoke my first words as a child while riding as a passenger on his bicycle. He stopped at a crossroad to wait for traffic. As he carefully looked for cars, I pointed out a fallen mockingbird. “Daddy! Bird broke.”

My fascination for birds and their symbolism of freedom, beauty, and the human spirit continues to this day.





Art of Collecting

Art of Collecting


Sculpture by Paul Benson and painting by St Petersburg artist Lance Rodgers

The best bonus for being an artist is being able to barter with other artists. When I was in college, I made my first barter with an art teacher. He brought me into his downtown Minneapolis studio and told me to pick one piece of artwork. It was so exciting to walk through this towering enchanted forest of colorful sculptures knowing I was going to be able to take one home with me.  The hard part was deciding which one. Thirty-three years later, I still have the sculpture and it still brings me joy.

Mixed-media by Kansas City artist Heinrich Toh and glass artist Sandra Brewster


Black and White Art Wall including work by local artists Rebecca Skelton and Ric Savid

Whenever I sell a piece of art, I try to support other artists. Living with art brings energy into your home. Next to nature, it’s the best thing. It’s the difference between having thoughts on your wall as opposed to just decoration. I always say if your collection is worth more than your house then you’re in a good home.

Sculpture garden over the sink by Jenny Mendes, Jane Jaskevich and Victoria Rose Martin

Sculptures by Atlanta artist Jane Jaskevich. Small painting by Penelope Livingston

Santa Fe Artist Jack Charney

Local St Petersburg artists Calan Ree, Lisa Glaser and Starlin Martin

Ceramics by William Kidd and Jack Charney and painting by Michael Banks

My opinions aside, there is an increasing amount of scientific evidence (httpss://www.healing-power-of-art.org/art-and-the-brain/) suggesting that art enhances brain function. It supposedly can affect brain wave patterns, emotions and the nervous system, and can actually raise serotonin levels.

Large painting by Tampa artist Tom Kettner, two small portraits by Francesco Kroslak and lit glass sculpture by Marlene Rose




For the birds

For the birds

Birds in the family

I believe in creating or collecting your own source material whenever possible. Sure it’s probably faster to grab other people’s work off the Internet, but is it right? Taking the time to work in the presence of whatever object or subject you might need makes for a better study.

Birds are frequently featured in my work. I have lived with birds, which have given me good images and inspiration. But I have also picked up dead ones found on the road. I might be the only woman happy to get a standalone freezer for her birthday because my man didn’t want the road kill birds next to the grocery store birds in the kitchen freezer anymore. But you don’t have to live with live birds or pull over the car for that road kill. Just head on over to the beach or the zoo for your bird and animal imagery.

Fort DeSoto

Birds at the zoo

Pet pigeon catalog

Cataloging birds

Innocence Project

Broken Bird

Here is a narrative piece I did for my Innocence Project in 2008 and also another one from my Broken Bird series in 2004. I always preferred working in a large scale so every detail is meticulously executed to perfection before I go through the next phase of my work. It is this attention to the particulars that allows me to work at this scale.

This piece contains a newly deceased mourning dove I found on my morning walk. If it weren’t in my gloved hands, I would not have discovered the heart shaped pose. This makes for a unique composition and adds to the symbolism of the painting.


Adversity’s Child

Adversity’s Child

Adversity’s Child

Adversity’s Child detail

This is a dual self-portrait of myself and all artists questioning the idea “do you have to experience suffering or just understand it to be a good artist?” And when does it end? Sometimes the work just flows and other times making art is a struggle. Ask any true artist and you will learn that our path is one filled with torture. The torment of criticism, rejection, and being misunderstood are a constant way of life. The droplets of paint through out the piece represents a source of pain. The cage shows my personal aversion to feeling trapped and a fear of commitment. The two fish represent my internal conflict between endless days of solitude in the studio and the public side of me who shares these personal thoughts. The circle of thorns, originally a symbol of Christ, is a homage to artist Frida Kahlo. Butterflies and birds reflect the human soul and all that is sacrificed to create the art. The gray hair of the girl indicates she is wise before her time and the fragility of her lost innocence. She is surrounded by nature because that is what inspires and comforts her. The dove fashioned into a heart symbolizes what is sacred and the falling skeleton represents all that is lost.




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