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Mini Biography, February 2011

In 1960 I was close to forty years old. I had four children and I thought the time had come for me to learn to pray. Paul Tilloch’s philosophy inspired me. I thought that one of his suggestions, as I understood it, would be helpful: to truly see, one should learn to make full use of one's eyes. In other words, I should practice looking more closely. A practical, yet fun way to practice using my eyes was learning to paint. I didn’t have a clue how to paint, but the process of painting could become my prayers.

Blind Date

My résumé details the path of my formal learning. In addition, my life has been full of what I call “adventures in living.” While studying at The Maryland Institute of Art (MICA) I was struck by the then prevalent idea of “no negative [background] space.” This makes sense for a non-figurative painter, but I intended to paint figures and a positive figure suggests a negative ground. The concept seemed a challenge to me and, for forty years, through the use of many different materials, techniques and design elements, I’ve searched for satisfying ways to meet this challenge. During the process I’ve used water colors, spray paint, acrylic and oils and various combinations. Later on, I began to create figurative “Objects” combined from found odds and ends (junk), which are meant to be viewed frontally.


Since the 1990s I've been using water-based latex house paint; it suits me well. The paint allows me the freedom to experiment further and fully use my imagination. I’m still learning to see. I’ve come to feel that, in a sense, my paintings are my prayers. I don’t understand them, but the process makes them real to me. A few of these recent works are featured in the gallery.


Over the years I have produced numerous works, some of which have ended up in storage. This inspired me to found The Art Connection: an organization that facilitates the donation of works between artists and nonprofits such as schools and homeless shelters. Now in its second decade, the Art Connection reaches out to a diverse audience, and has become a model in other cities including New York and Washington DC.


Fay Chandler

Picture (Upbeat)