About the Series
I had been thinking of painting Black Girl in Maine blogger, Shay Stewart-Bouley. As we went into shutdown for the pandemic, I found time to get started. While painting Shay, the protests over George Floyd’s murder spread across the country. I lived in several highly racist communities before moving to Maine 30 years ago. I was disheartened to realize how little progress we had made as a country toward equality and how out of touch I was. I realized I have very little interaction with the Black people in my community and almost no understanding of the Black story in Maine. It was as I started to become more connected that I decided to start a series to help shed some light on what our Black neighbors bring to our state.
For the series, I try to represent a mix of people based on age, where they live, what they do, where they were born, how many generations of their family have been here, who they love, how they identify, etc. Each watercolor portrait is 5×8”. The smaller size encourages viewers to get up close and engage with the person depicted.
As I work, I post my progress to my social media accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter along with a short story of each person and links to articles, videos, or organizations they are involved with so that my followers can learn how each adds to our community. When the portrait is complete I add it to my website. My blog provides a longer story and links to donate to the subject’s cause. The blog will be updated with recent news of each person while the series is in progress.
I have been contacted by local media and organizations to discuss the series. The motivation for participating is to share these stories to a wider audience. I realize I gain exposure as well, however my goal is to help build awareness and encourage people to donate to the causes of each subject. I do not plan to sell the paintings; certainly not without discussing with the subject and assuring that they benefit from the sale either directly or as a donation to their cause.