“By Any Means”

Means we use must be as pure as the ends we seek   -Martin Luther King Jr.


Title :   “By Any Means”

Series : The Uncolored Series

Year :  2014

Medium : Oil On Canvas

Dimensions : 24 x 45 in  ( 60.96 cm x 114.3 cm.)

Availability : Private Collection (limited edition reproductions available)


This painting is part of a collection of   works entitled “The Uncolored Series” Paintings about color without color. Each painting deals with a unique  issue in the stages of  African American life and culture.

By Any Means” Learn to learn.

Reading can be an experience of enlightenment. For education ,entertainment, and at times a necessity.  Imagine if you will, standing in a foreign land. Unable to express your opinions, desires, and  basic needs. Only to find yourself relying on symbols you have come to understand through the trial and error of others. This imagined thought you’re having was all too true for the men and women who lived as slaves not so long ago.

Learning to read means reading to learn. What you want. When you want. Don’t be downsized, replaced,or obsolete due to a lack of knowledge. Learn from whoever and whenever. Remember you’re never too old to learn, perhaps just too smart. Let the young dog teach the old one a trick or two. Better to have lived knowing.

Key Points:

The lack of shoes allowed her to identify with her pupil.
The woman on the porch is searching for her daughter (she obviously has an idea of where she might have gone).
The carving in the tree was a symbol use in quilting for the Underground Railroad. It means crossroad.
That hand in the window could mean a lot. I placed it there to mean one of three things . No right or wrong answer , just your opinion through your perception.

1. Helping her. Her look out. Warning her of someone approaching.
2. Wanting her to stop. Against the idea of learning due to fear of punishment .
3. Take me with you, I want to learn too. Teach me what you have learned.

This has been an experiment in narrative art perception. What did you see? Do you see a dictionary, or a bible?


  • Amelia Buttner
    July 18, 2015

    I saw this piece at Artscape 2015 and it really spoke to me. I grew up in Baltimore City and I can see this piece as a representation of the internal struggle this city is facing after the riots. Education is the key.

  • Cheryl Erickson
    June 30, 2015

    Thank you for all of your powerful paintings. I just saw your work for the first time at the Saratoga Jazz Festival this weekend. I couldn’t stop thinking about them.

    When I see this painting, I see two very different worlds and two young girls (friends), who looking back and acknowledging the different worlds they grew up in: Fear and repression on one side, material wealth and freedom on the other side. You can tell they are nervous. But the hopeful part in their feet and their hands. Their feet are facing forward and they look ready to move away from the worlds that they grew up in and I love that the legs are entwined. They are moving forward together. Learning to read, and education in general, is the great equalizer and neither girl has let go of the book as they turn around. They know how important it is. The Bible was very likely the book they were holding. It will guide them as they move forward. Though the colors of this painting are not bright and cheerful because the painting acknowledges the reality of the struggles they faced, but the emotion that I feel is ultimately optimistic.

    Thanks you for sharing your gifts with us. I’ll look for you again next year.