Artist Statement


     I paint people in oil and watercolor and look inside of what appears to be seen.  The common thread in my work is humanity and unlike the lens of a camera that objectively documents a moment in time and space, my lens subjectively observes and comments.  My portraits and narrative paintings converge the real and imagined to examine the status quo and social norms of modern life.   I invite viewers to look and consider the psychological, sociological, or emotional complexities of race, gender, age, and culture. 

     I often weave poetry into a portrait. The text provides an introduction to the portrait, allowing the viewer to connect emotionally and intellectually.  I use lettering from magazines and newspapers for the text, much like the ransom notes written by the kidnappers on the TV detective shows I watched as a kid.  The idea that, as an artist, I am capturing and using a person’s likeness for my own purpose makes the allusion to the TV ransom note of my childhood fitting. The various colors, sizes, and fonts of the cutout letters enhance the visual impact of the overall painting.  
     I attribute my artistic style to the hundreds of young children I knew in my 30 years as a teacher.  The daily interactions with children and most importantly, the moment-by-moment immersion into their concrete thinking rests on my canvases via simple lines, shapes, values, and textures in vivid colors set into a story.
     My current work focuses on America’s racial climate and the #Black Lives Matter movement.  As a whole, these oil, watercolor, and acrylic paintings create an empathic narrative sparked from my many years forming emotional connections with young African American children.  Each painting has led me to the next painting and has become a project entitled TOO: An Orientation of Spirit. 


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© Melody Croft