under painting

"under painting" 7" x 14" watercolor SOLD
“under painting” 7″ x 14″ watercolor SOLD

This painting is my first self-portrait.

It was a response to an event that occurred last week —

And surely it’s not the first time it’s happened —

To anyone —

Or even —

To me.

At least, not openly.

In a conversation with a recruiter about my qualifications for an opportunity, the topic of diversity and inclusion came up.

And —

In that spirit, it was expressed that “another middle-aged white woman was the last thing the organization needed” for this role.

That being the case, and me being — well — “that” — it was determined I would not be considered.

Oh my.  I am middle-aged.

Oh God.  I’m white too.

But I’m so much more.

We all are!

This painting is personal.  It’s me.  And it’s —


What we see — or think we see — above ground is only part of the story.  External blooms may inform us accurately about some of what lies within, but they may also lead us astray.

Under painting is a big part of my watercolor process, but this time it took on deeper meaning.  The time spent on the interior of this painting was significant.  It’s uneven and smooth, dull and vibrant, full of right — and left turns.  But I chose to cover it over in the olive clay of earthly existence.

This is my way of expressing that I — like every human being — am a composite of many profound experiences that inform who I am and how I approach relationships and my life’s work.  The most valuable of these assets — related to my informed perspectives around diversity and inclusion — don’t correlate to my age, skin color, or where I live.

I am feeling grateful for this experience today.  It underscores the relevance of my participation in the Living School  which I anticipate with joy in the fall of 2013.


Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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