New Englander, Harry Bernard, Expressionist, Contemporary Fine Artist, Painter, Printmaker, Photographer and the Original Finder of Urban Street Creatures.

As the Art UnderFoot series continued, the words WasHere started to gain wider and deep meaning. Kilroy was no longer here, but, we know he was. He told us so. And when I'm gone my painting swill literally say I was here. So in one sense it has become a signature. If you consider all my iconography, all of it indicates that all of us are here, or were here, at some time or another.

One last bit of background about the iconology: the little girl in the box. Some years ago, I received a call from my sister, a few weeks after our mother passed away. My sister told me that Dad believed a little girl was visiting him, who didn't have hands or feet and when he offered her food, she would not eat. Dad was suffering from dementia, which my sister thought was causing this illusion. But I pointed out that while Mom was on her death bed, Dad kept trying to get her to eat. Mom refused and really got angry at him—a scenario that perhaps reflected their long and complex marriage. Now perhaps he felt guilty about her death and it was being played out as her returning to haunt him.

I forgot about the phone call for a while, until one day I noticed a piece leaning against the painting wall in my studio, an experimental work on paper done by an artist who had moved to New York City. She'd left it behind with other pieces for anyone in the Coop to use. I'm always looking for something found that may find its way into one of my paintings. After looking at it for months, I noticed part of the painting had what looked to be a female face on a white box.

The idea struck me: if I blacked out some of the white boxI'd have the little girl with no hands and no feet. I quickly mounted the work on paper to a four foot by four foot stretched canvas and worked toward the completion of the original: Mom returned with no hands, no feet and won't eat painting. Since that painting the little girl has found her way into many of my paintings and prints.Original Mom Returned As A ... PaintingSome of the other icons are based on childhood photos, Mayan imagery, Africa and South American masks and sculpture, and snippets of songs. And the list grow.

WasHere, which started out as a touch of humor, meant mostly for me, seems to have taken on a life of its own, under the umbrella of Art UnderFoot.

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