Oil on canvas

36” x 48”


Inspired by the poem Loneliness Is a Lady by Barbara Hall


Loneliness Is a Lady 


Loneliness is a lady all dressed up in white

her gown free, flowing, sheer pearl-essence in the light

She spends her day in a lazy way, 

ensconced in her parlor, painted grey and white

She sips peach cider by herself, never invites me in

even when I stop by to see her, she cowers behind the trees

I ask her to join me but she thinks I’m a tease

I bring her lemonade, she doesn’t like the sugar

I bring her strawberries, they slip away

and drop red stains on her flowery gown


I bring her songs to sing

she whispers my melodies to the wind

She thinks I’m funny, but full of original sin

She loves to walk along the beach

sand her summer snow

dunes rise like cliffs, tower above her head;

her feet sink into shoals, her winter drifts of snow 

her favorite pets are creatures of the night

white barn owls that whooo hoot ‘til dawn

leopards’ black spots on ginger, scarce as summer snow

faint creatures rule her moods  

her moonlight walks beyond the edge of Time


I cry for her to shed her sham

to change her dress to red

I want for her to dance with me

and leave haunted memories behind


—  © Barbara Hall





 I paint from family photographs, some dating back as far as the 1950s. I don’t consider my work a literal representation of these photographs, but an interpretation of them and of memory itself. My paintings focus on the nuances in people’s expressions and the undertones conveyed by people alone or in groups, as I try to draw attention to what is unnoticed, unstated, or beneath the surface in our interactions. I distill these interpretations into the paintings.


It’s important to me that my paintings prompt a sense of questioning in the viewer, that they disrupt in some way the viewer’s expectations or preconceptions. My work has been called “psychologically taut,” falling somewhere closer on the spectrum to provoking than comforting. 


This is related to the fact that many of my subjects are people with developmental disabilities. I initially began painting my late sister, who suffered from schizophrenia and other impairments, in an attempt to explore my relationship with her. I was struck by the open and unguarded expressions and attitudes of people who suffer from disabilities, which prompted my exploration of this subject matter, but my work goes beyond any category or group of people to explore what is universal in our experiences.


"Loneliness Is a Lady" Al Desetta


    Emerge Gallery & Art Space

    228A Main Street, Saugerties, NY  (845) 247-7515

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