The Stories Behind the Story – Discovering Family Secrets – BLACK

Black (shah-KHOHR) | pastel-graphite-colored pencil, 22" x 30 " $ 3,000

Exciting news is on the horizon! Today marks the unveiling of the 7th chapter in the fascinating "The Stories Behind the Story" series. Join me as we explore the intriguing world of “MYSTERIES CONCEALED & REVEALED: Discovering Family Secrets.”

…some people have secrets that could solve a mystery of odd responses, emotional upsets, or hushed conversation. Families have secrets, and each generation passes on those secrets."...

As we delve into the personal narratives about hiding and uncovering, you will glimpse the inspirations behind my artwork. This journey promises to be both enlightening and engaging. Five more tales are still to come.

If you've missed any part of our series, worry not! You can catch up on all the stories in the NEWS section on my website.

I'm genuinely looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the latest tale. Your insights are incredibly valuable, and I'd be delighted if you could share your reflections. Let's continue this creative journey together!

MYSTERIES CONCEALED & REVEALED: Discovering Family Secrets

Should the element of mystery be maintained to safeguard a secret, or should it be unraveled to disclose the truth?

As an artist… introducing mystery into an artwork using specific colors is more spellbinding. Black holds a certain mystique, whether pitch, jet, or coal. It is a hue for artists to utilize to evoke a sense of depth and intrigue. Shades of gray act as steps to show us direction. What lies hidden in the darkness of black is a question of speculation. It is up to our curiosity to delve into the abyss and discover what may lie within.

As I introduced yellow into the composition, I discovered a way to express light. Light can lift us from the shadows and reveal what was previously concealed. However, in this particular piece, I chose to play with colors and forms in a way that guides the eye through space without necessarily emphasizing the need to uncover any secrets hidden in the background. Instead, a mystery waits.

Photo courtesy of Cottonbro Studio

Mysteries throughout life

As in this drawing, there are mysteries throughout life. Will a secret, once revealed, improve one's life? Secrets no longer concealed ended the mysteries within my family—and there were more than one.

We all enjoy a good mystery story now and then. Revealed secrets can solve the mystery of odd responses, emotional upsets, or hushed conversations. Families have secrets. Each generation passes on those secrets, whether they know them or not. For example, I discovered in my twenties that when my mother was a child, her parents divorced under a cloud of scandal, and she had a sister. Her father took her sister away when my mother was three years old. She had no idea where her sister lived outside of a newspaper article with a wedding announcement. As a result, my mother never talked about what had happened.

Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Jade


While rummaging through saved newspaper clippings, I also learned that my great-aunt had been married twice. I had no idea there had been a first husband, and the information about that marriage still needs to be clarified. I then discovered another family secret. My father's younger sister had committed suicide. No one ever talked about these life events.

So, how did one of these events affect my life? When my mother was in her mid-seventies, her sister contacted her. All I know is that the situation was awkward. The reason for contact was that one of her children had health issues, and they were seeking answers from our side of the family. My mother put me in the position of meeting these people alone. Surprise! I was living in the same town!


Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Not having grown up with my mother expressing that she missed her sister and wishing she could find her, I didn't have any emotional response to the newfound family. And I questioned the motives after 60-plus years of no contact. I saw my mother's sister too forward, assuming I would embrace her as a family member. Finding a lost family member doesn't mean they will be as emotionally willing to have a relationship as you may be. The situation didn't end well for me, and there has been a rift regarding this experience with my mother. I may share more about this story and the others later.

These secrets have affected my life negatively; however, they helped me understand a family dynamic I didn't like. The misalignment with family members caused by these secrets wasn't my fault or mine to fix. I need to accept them and not let them affect my life.


I certainly can add more details about these family secrets, but you understand why I am talking about them. I certainly wish that you hadn't had a similar experience. When a secret reveals itself, and you realize its implications, how do you deal with it? Do you take a deep breath to process the news? Can you share the secrets? Are you more comfortable knowing that the concealed things have explained what you had not understood? I am for opening the closet door and letting the skeletons fall out! 

Photo courtesy of Ann H


Also, this drawing describes how layered we are as human beings. Within each of us, there is a mystery. It could be insignificant or meaningful. There are personal secrets as well as family secrets. Some of us may have both. Are we better off sharing them? I would hope so.


UNCONDITIONAL SUPPORT: Concealing Emotional Pain - Rock

Prepare for a deeply personal narrative. This chapter is a heartfelt tribute to my father, a story of love and the pain of his loss.

While this topic can be challenging, it also holds the promise of resolution. We all grapple with emotional pain in our unique ways. This story might unsettle you, but I believe it can also offer a sense of closure.

This treasured kit has been a constant in my life, accompanying me through all my moves and reminding me of my father's steadfastness and grounding presence.”

Within my immediate family, we never discussed how we felt about his illness or his death. Concealing emotions has been a family affair.”

I miss him terribly. There are times when I wish I could tell him how much.”

Rock (SEH-lah) | pastel, grphite, 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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