The Stories Behind the Story – Artistic Family Perceptions – ORANGE

ORANGE (kah-TOHM) | paste-graphite, 22" x 30" | $ 3,000

Thank you for joining me on this journey!

I am pleased to introduce the 3rd installment of "The Stories Behind the Story" series. I have nine more tales lined up, and I can't wait to continue on this adventure with you. This story investigates ORANGE and “True Passion: Artistic Family Perceptions.”

My family members had bonded with music; I was the outsider with my art.”

As the series continues, I will share more personal stories related to the theme of concealing and revealing, which inspires my artwork.

Don’t worry if you miss any part of this series. Every single story will be waiting for you on my website in the NEWS section.

Let me know if this story resonates with you. I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

TRUE PASSION: Artistic Family Perceptions

There are reasons we can be out of step with someone. Are our perceptions of the expectations different?

As an artist…, it is a dilemma I know all too well. Music was at the heart of my family while I was growing up. My mother was a choir director, and my father sang in a Madrigal group. So, it was assumed we all would play musical instruments from an early age, which my brother and sister did. But for me, the piano was a source of frustration; I felt tone-deaf and was so ashamed that I couldn't play the keys in the proper rhythm. I couldn't disappoint my parents, so I hid my lack of enthusiasm for Saturday morning lessons from them.

Photo courtesy of Juan-Pablo Serrano-Arenas

Finding my talent

In the fourth grade, my art teacher recognized my talent and nominated me for a Saturday morning class at the local museum. It was a relief that I could be as passionate about art as they all were about music. My parents gave me the choice of continuing with the piano lessons or attending the museum's art classes instead. It was an easy choice. I was overjoyed leaving the piano lessons behind because I had no talent for the instrument.

Finding my talent, however, didn't resolve my feelings of being out of step with my family. Instead, it was the need to be accepted. Have you been out of step with family or even friends? How many of us choose a life path that has nothing to do with what we want but what others expect of us? Some families expect you to do what they have planned for you. For everyone, I will give an example from my life.

Photo courtesy of Pavel Danilyuk

Walking away from making art

My family members had bonded with music; I was the outsider with my art. Nevertheless, my parents supported my talent and did their best to help me nurture it. I am thankful for this acceptance, considering they had no idea what art-making was about. However, when I walked away from making art to become an art dealer, they were happier with that decision.

Generational differences

I was of the generation where women began to assert themselves outside the traditional path of marriage, wife, mother, and housekeeper. I remember my father saying, "It's important that you get a good education in case your marriage ends either in divorce or death so you have something to fall back on." I had thought my parents were more open, but in hindsight, they accepted traditional roles, and the expectation was that I would follow suit. And I, unfortunately, didn't succeed at it. But that is a story for another time.

Need for approval

Here, I am getting an education in the fine arts, which is something to fall back on. Ah, the goal was to teach—an acceptable profession instead of selling my artwork to make a living. But, finding a full-time teaching position at the university level was not guaranteed. With no understanding of what I was doing, my mother suggested I use my talent to design Hallmark cards. My parents did not understand my need for approval in my chosen path. I never challenged them in the comments they made. I couldn't face the disappointment, theirs and mine. How out of alignment I was with the family!

So many questions to explore

There are reasons we can be out of step with someone. Are our perceptions of the expectations different? Do we need to be aware of these differences? For example, if we aren't following the path of someone else's expectations, how do we express our wants without bearing the burden of the other person's disappointment? How do we find a common thread that helps the other to understand that our unique choice allows us to shine just as much as their choice does for them? Let's explore this further beyond my experience.


My Little Sarasota Studio

Finally, I have come full circle and pursued my true passion. I am fortunate to have found a voice in my work and am grateful to be able to create.


As I worked on the composition for this drawing, something unexpected happened. The color orange, which I've always loved, began to take on a musical quality. The energetic movement of the diverse hues, shapes, and lines felt like a jazzy melody in my head. In the end, there was a musical style that I could relate to. It was a revelation, and at this moment, I felt like I did when I found my artistic alignment in 4th grade, gleeful that I was leaving the piano lessons behind. How ironic!


Cherished Memory: Harmony by the Sea - SEA

"Schools of little fishes darted back and forth, adding to the allure of this underwater wonderland. I was in a state of calm."

"Hanging out with my siblings in the sultry heat, smelling the salt air, and listening to the water lapping against the shore with us happily playing was a time to hold dear."

"No one is perfect when emotions are involved. We can only try again to remain calm."

SEA (YAHM) | pastel-graphite-colored pencil, 22" x 30" | $ 3,000

REVEALED FAITH STATEMENT: The big story behind all the drawings

Who are we? How much do we conceal? My inquiry begins with the history of the Crypto-Jews who outwardly converted during the Inquisition but continued to practice their religion, disguising it ingeniously from the authorities. Yet, even in secrecy, traces were revealed to those who knew where to look. This is just one example of how people have historically hidden their true selves. Even today, individuals often mask their identity out of fear of rejection.

Through my artwork, I explore and reconcile the uneasy feelings associated with revealing my chosen faith, Judaism. How much should I make known? When you examine my drawings, you will notice concealed Hebrew words peaking out from their abstract surroundings. I hope my artwork will encourage others to feel comfortable expressing their true selves.

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