I was taught oil painting at the Cleveland Institute of Art in the early 70's. Never adapting to the then very toxic solvents and paints I began my painting career as a watercolorist. While painting I would usually lay down color washes and work over them with fine ink lines and sometimes conte' crayon. Even in my early painting years I was aware of the range of lines and textures. I enjoyed making music with my strokes and allowed my bright color palette to resonate beyond the borders of the surface. It was early in the 90's that I created my paintings, now using acrylic paints on watercolor paper, to have a deliberate rhythm. The staccato magenta strokes had one sound and the elongated blue greens had a different sound. It was very soon thereafter that the brushstrokes became my artist signature.
As a painter, I enjoyed the opportunities to serve as a visual griot. Storytelling has been deeply ingrained into our cultural history and often was the only form of entertainment. Many of my story paintings, which developed into a traveling exhibition, "From Stories of My America" featured ordinary people doing ordinary things. The figures would often become a part of the rhythms of the painting, with elongated, graceful lines, not necessarily anatomically correct, and would tell their own story.