New Work

Looking Out 18X24 Acrylic on canvas (S)

While living through this grim and grueling time of pandemic, I am looking out the window a lot.  The stay-at-home order for nonessential (dreadful word) workers and seniors and health-compromised who can make only necessary forays outside now grieve normalcy and endure the lassitude of looking out.

Those who do/must go to work risk danger every day.  For them, “looking out,” means something entirely different, as they are looking out for and taking care of the rest of us, even while looking out less for themselves.

I look out in remembrance of those who have died of this virus and am heartbroken for the bereaved who were unable to spend last moments with their loved one.  I look out in sorrow for those who have no window from which to look out.

There are, for fortunate me, books to read, friends to call, art to make, seeds to plant, closets and cabinets and cupboards to re-organize, but I come back to looking out.

There are many connections among living things: a commonality of both needs and satisfactions, a dependence upon self and others, and loss in the face of disaster and disease.  No Borders represents a desire to be aware of self-imposed restrictions in the world.

No Borders 16X20
Acrylic and graphite on canvas, framed
BirdWoman 20X20 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas (S)
BirdWoman3 16X20
Acrylic on canvas (S)
BirdWoman2 20X24
Acrylic on canvas
BirdWoman4 20X24
Acrylic on canvas

These handmaids have their genesis in Fates, folklore, foundation myths, goddess/mothers, Salem, crones, hags, witches and bitches, who -- on behalf of women -- witness, object to, and protest repression, subjugation, subservience, and abuse.  They demand fair treatment and equal rights, and their powers serve women.  “Tell” is an archeological term for a place created when many generations build on the same spot, forming a mound.

Handmaids Tell 18X24 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas

This piece was inspired by a friend who disclosed an assault and the continuing emotional and physical violence in her youth.  It symbolizes the potential for all women to be subject to verbal, emotional and physical assault.  Victims, usually but not always women, can be any ethnicity, age, religion, appearance, stance, sexual orientation, body type or economic status.  The feeling of protection by virtue of class, race, or age is false.


According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center,

1 in 6 U.S. women has been victims of rape or attempted rape.  And it is estimated that only ¼ of those crimes are reported.  Based on Department of Justice statistics, RAINN (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) projects that every 92 seconds an American woman (or man or transgender individual) is sexually assaulted, with those aged 12 – 34 being most at risk.


Some believe women invite assault by being provocative, uppity, or rule-breakers.  The #MeToo phenomenon has mitigated that belief somewhat -- merely by the sheer numbers of those proclaiming -- but many, often including the victims themselves, are sure that some certain behavior or attitude encourages assault.  Victims can feel they are somehow responsible and may feel guilt and shame.  Hopefully, loved ones are supportive -- but can also project shame and responsibility, despite believing in the independence and competence of the victim.


Those who assault do so, I believe, as a means of humiliation, subjugation, and domination of their victim -- with varying degrees of accompanying violence.  Perpetrators seldom face justice, as this crime is difficult to prove and victims may be unwilling to endure the trauma of a trial. 


For those who are assaulted, this horrifying memory never leaves, and it influences, directly or indirectly, future actions.


National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800.656.4673

Everyday Danger 15X30 Mixed Media on canvas
Ca Hills Winter 2 18X24 Acrylic on canvas
Ca Hills Winter 18X24 Acrylic on canvas
Urban Flowers 16X20
Mixed media on canvas
Shadow Vase 16X20
Mixed media on canvas
Tulip Field 15X15
Acrylic on board
City Limits 8X10
Mixed media on canvas
Blue 14X18 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas
Yes, you! 18X24 Acrylic and charcoal on canvas

We are often split on decisions about the best way forward. 

Self/other?  Career/family?  Go/stay?  Partake/don’t? 


And if only it were as simple as binary choices -- without all the other elements.

Split 12X24
Acrylic on canvas

This depicts the appalling treatment of asylum-seekers and immigrants at the U.S. Southern border. 


The lyrics from South of the Border came from 1939 sheet music found at two different yard sales and propelled the piece with the theme of broken promises.

South of the... 12X36 Mixed Media on canvas
Follow the Birds 24X24 Acrylic on canvas

During the stay-at-home time, I took an online course emphasizing mark-making made in layers to discover an emerging subject or image. This approach brought a freedom that I will try to incorporate into my work.

(c) Judy Rookstool 2019