Artist Gin Stone was a friend of the owners of The Frying Pan Gallery in Wellfleet MA and I approached her on Facebook about painting her. She had these amazing dark blue eyes, was an artist, and a strong, confident, and authentic woman who had no problem being nude. We instantly connected. So I went to Cape Cod to photograph her in her studio. There were props everywhere and she wasn’t shy. I choose this image because it represented her as an avid environmentalist and fighter for doing the right thing whether it be marching on Washington or supporting a friend in need. The axe was a perfect symbol of her strengths and the pose fit her candid and outspoken personality. The bracelet was made out of retired fishing line which is the tapestry of her sculptures. She is powerful and invincible.
Here is a quote from a woman who saw the painting at WMOCA " I asked him to relay my thoughts to you about your painting because you're painting stop me in my tracks that evening at the MOCA opening. Your painting "I will survive" spoke volumes in seconds! I felt as though you read my whole history and there it was on the painting. At first I gasped and was taken back by the sheer volumes that it spoke. I immediately saw the bondage on the wrist and felt exactly what those emotional and physical bonds felt like. Then I saw the rope around the neck and and felt the pain that I experience in my marriage. I looked at the sheer nakedness, rawness of the vulnerability of the image, it left me feeling opened. But the more I looked at the painting the more I realized this was not about suffering any longer it was about taking a stand. It was about perseverance, strength, determination, and self-assurance. The look in the woman's face, her head turned slightly and tilted up like I did it. The strength of the arm holding the ax reminded me of the strength it took to be able to overcome things in the past. It reminded me of the 1950's poster of Rosie the Riveter and the slogan "we can do it"! When viewing the stance of the body with the back arched, the strong spine, the firm squared shoulders the look of defiance it just spoke to me. My life story is no different then the any other woman who has been abused, but it's my story and my pain. Your painting reminded me of the struggles I went through to get to where I am now. I've been that woman and continue to be her even now. My life is much better and much different but it was a journey that was painful at times. Thank you so much for having the strength and knowledge to send this message to others like us. And thank you for sharing the image of your experiences because you must have experience this to have the knowledge to send this message across. "