I grew up with a Native American Grandpa, Edwin George, who expanded my mind with beautiful and mysterious Cherokee narratives connecting people to animals and the enormous expanse of nature. In his soft-spoken voice I often witnessed him converse with the animals.

Once he put his cheek to the floor of the living room, and in Cherokee whispers, he asked the ants (who were forming a line) to leave, and they immediately obeyed. When he taught himself to paint, stories and symbols flowed from his mind and heart to the canvas, and I was mesmerized by the crowd of color, pattern and detail, and how it all wove into a story. I always wanted to know the meaning of every single thing. He used letters from the Cherokee language, which is now hardly spoken, to form design elements in his colorful and busy narratives.

Now I am grown, and I have complex stories of my soul that I need to express. I no longer worry about the exact meaning of every image, and instead let the narrative unfold naturally. The figures in this painting represent my physical and artistic heritage, trials and complexities, and the evolution of my own articulate and distinctive children as they become the next generation.

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