The Art & Soul of Phillip D. Woods
xWelcomeMusicPaintingsWritingAbout PhillipLinks

[ Background, pg.1 ]    [ Background, pg.2 ]   [ Paintings, pg.1 ]    [ Paintings, pg.2 ]

Years ago, I read that an artist should stick to familiar subjects to be truly authentic; in other words, "paint what you know." So when I finally set aside time to devote to painting, I started with family photos, beginning with a portrait of my paternal grandparents in 1997. Soon I ran out of photos that seemed to fully capture what I wanted to portray - African American lives in the rural South of my youth and my parents' youth. 

In September 2001, I told a close friend that I'd run out of family photos, and that I felt blocked. She suggested that I check out the Library of Congress website, saying, "There's a lot of Black folks on that site under prints and photographs." Later that night I logged on, performing this search:


What appeared on my monitor both shocked and thrilled me - several of my elder cousins in 1939 walking on my grandfather's dirt road on their way home from school. The caption of the black and white photo was, "Negro children walking home from school." No names were listed, and none of the subjects pictured had received a copy of the photograph. But I knew them. I knew that road!

[ next page ]

©2015 Dr. Phillip D. Woods. All rights reserved. Contact Phillip.