Drawing inspiration

The Baltimore Sun

Nathaniel K. Gibbs said the inspiration for his Barack Obama-themed oil painting, which made its debut yesterday at Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park and Museum, dates to election night.

Gibbs remembered watching the emotions of millions spill over in November as Obama announced his victory in the presidential race.

"I saw so many people crying, and that's what I wanted to bring to the show," Gibbs said.

Gibbs' painting, which depicts a black woman with gray hair who is wearing an Obama shirt, is part of the Dreams Fulfilled: Images of Obama exhibit at the museum. The exhibit, which will be on display until April 30, comprises 12 original works, including a stained-glass window, several oil paintings and quilts.

The idea for the woman in Gibbs' painting came from a picture he saw in a newspaper.

"I wanted her to have a certain look and to be in her 60s or 70s," Gibbs said. "Older people have more of an impact."

Donald E. Lee took about a month to finish his oil painting of Obama dressed in a suit with a red tie. A small image of Abraham Lincoln is in the top left corner.

Lee, 81, generally focuses on landscapes and said he doesn't do many portraits, but the chance to do a work involving Obama proved too attractive to pass up.

"I'll rank this up near the top of all the things I've done," Lee said.

Exhibition curator Dianne Swann-Wright said the idea for the show came the day after the election, when artists associated with the museum were invited to do any type of work in any medium depicting Obama.

Tommy Roberts placed an American flag in the background of his oil painting of Obama, with a miniature White House on the middle right side of the canvas.

"He has knowledge on knowledge on how government works. And he seems like a spiritual man. I wanted to depict all that in my painting," Roberts said.

All works except the stained glass will be for sale.

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