I am currently exploring two ideas in my paintings. The first is based on antique collectibles called “Sailors’ Valentines” These objects were tokens of love completed on far-away oceans in the 1800’s by seamen for their wives, mothers, and sisters back at home. They are charming mosaics made out of shells containing flat geometric shapes anchored upon a circle. I recently moved back to Dallas, the city where I grew up, after living in Chicago for 15 years. The new paintings have bittersweet feelings for me and often role play as large postcards to my friends in Chicago. The images I am investigating include Dallas’ hot weather and drought, natural disasters, Western leather patterns, Martha Stewart Living home art décor and wallpapers, landscape architecture, protected suburbia, and backyard fauna and flora. The second idea infusing this work is my interest in developing peculiar, surreal narratives preserving the mise-en-scene in the neighborhood where I grew up and now live. Many of the original mid-century homes are being torn down and replaced with something “bigger and better.” I am painting in a style of magical realism, trying to preserve my surroundings yet transform the ordinary into something extraordinary.