when it is dark the day is about to begin series

ungraying series

rodney's museum

san quentin series

by blood series



About this series:

The first time I walked into San Quentin I was so nervous I could feel my heart pounding in my knees. I was there as a volunteer - to teach an art class to inmates. I assumed my students would be thugs, and I hoped I could teach them to cultivate goodness in their lives through art. To my surprise my students turned out to all be sensitive men - not thugs at all - and well on their way to "rehabilitation." Many of them had horrific and frightening pasts. None of them denied the acts of violence that had landed them in the clink. But all of them had long ago turned away from violence - even renouncing membership from ever-powerful prison gangs.

I became fascinated with this question: how did they turn their lives around? How did they go from being murderers (in some cases) to being advocates for peace - from within the violent atmosphere of the prison? I did not teach it them; most of them had been in prison for many many years and had long-ago discovered their own methods for cultivating integrity and joy in their lives. They inspired me. When I moved away from the Bay Area, the only trace I had of them was sketches I had drawn when they modeled for each other in class. I decided to paint them, as an homage for everything they taught me.