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Inspiring Women Portrait Project: Fourth Progress Report, December 2018: Preparing the birch panels.

On  my teacher Ulan Moore’s advice, I began by preparing birch panels for all ten triptychs before beginning the portrait process.

The preparation began with cutting a large sheet of birch plywood into the central and side panels.

Next I gessoed all the panels, front and back, to prevent warping.

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Next, paint the arches and columns. The middle area of the central panel is left unpainted for the portrait. The middle area of the side panels is prepared with a background for the calligraphy.

Finished columns

As of December 5th, all 10 triptych panels are painted and ready for portraits and calligraphy. Whew!

all Panels

To visit the Fifth Progress Report, click here.






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Inspiring Women Portrait Project: Third Progress Report December 2018


The project will include ten portraits, each in triptych format. As in the painting of Pauli Murray, the portraits will be in a tromp l’oeil frame. Two smaller panels will be on each side of the central portrait, creating a triptych. The side panels will be calligraphed with pithy and/or revealing morsels by or about each woman.

I have not completed the calligraphy for the side panels of Pauli Murray’s portrait, but this mock-up of the triptych for Pauli with the side panel texts is the pattern I will follow for all of the portrait triptychs:

PauliPanel44-revPauli 4.18 copy Pauli-Panel2rev

The texts on Pauli’s side panels summarize two major contributions her thinking and law papers have made to legislation on human rights.  The panel from 1944 is a quote from her last year law paper at Howard University. At the time, Thurgood Marshall and other civil rights lawyers were unsuccessful in finding ways to overturn Plessey vs. Ferguson, the law that justified school segregation based on “separate but equal.” Her argument about arbitrary limits of personal rights in the public sphere made clear that the limitation of equal rights was due to singling out a category of persons, ie by race, instead of limitation due to unlawful behavior. The 1964 Civil Rights Act again built on Pauli’s argument and women were included in the protection of equal rights in the public sphere.

On the wall of my studio I have posted gallery of possible women to portray.

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Click here to go to the Fourth Progress Report


Inspiring Women Portrait Project: Second Progress Report

Here is an example of the classic portrait  process that I learned from Ulan Moore, using the stages of painting Pauli Murray’s portrait.


Click here to go to the Third Progress Report