The Time Has Come: THESIS

April 29, 2012  •  Leave a Comment


It is finally time to reveal my thesis and I couldn’t be more excited! This project requires 10 images to be made, the subject and execution is completely up to the artist. It is our final pieces before we graduate so I wanted to go all out. Hopefully it turned out okay, I really loved making them!

My project is titled  POISON: The 10 Most Prolific Female Serial Killers of All Time

And it is exactly that. The paintings were each 18×24 inches except the last one which is 24×36 inches, all in acrylic and ink on clay boards. All of the biographical descriptions were written by me.

There have been some great changes at in the galleries and the blog so be sure to check it out. Its got some of my favorites from thesis and personal work!

With no further adu, here is POISON!

Aileen Wuornos:


Aileen Carol Wuornos was born Aileen Carol Pittman February 29, 1956 residing in Daytona Florida. Her child hood was a barrage of violent rape, unplanned pregnancy, abuse and isolation to the point of living in the woods. The violence she suffered lead her to prostitution as a life-long career. She killed seven men in 1989 and 1990 claiming self-defense. Unlike most female serial killers she used a gun at close range while others prefer poison. She was convicted and sentenced to death for six of the murders and executed by lethal injection on October 9, 2002. 


Dr. Linda Hazzard.

Dr. Linda Hazzard was born in 1867, Carver County, Minnesota. She owned a sanitarium she called “Wilderness Heights” in Olalla, Washington that specialized in what she called a starvation diet that was supposed to treat virtually every ailment. The diet consisted of small portions of a thin tomato broth for many months, abusive “massage” treatments and complete isolation from the outside world. While a small group did believe in the diet’s effectiveness, Dr. Hazzard killed more than 40 people, some weighing as low as 50lbs at the time of death. When the doctor herself became ill, she initiated the fasting diet and subsequently died from it in 1938.

 Dorthea Puente

Dorothea Helen Puente was born January 9, 1929 and was a convicted of killing 9 people to which she buried in her backyard. Early in her life she had many unstable marriages, miscarriages and children put up for adoption as well as experience as a brothel Madame. At 59 years old, she was an active serial killer who owned and operated a boarding house in Sacramento, California. She cashed the Social Security checks of her elderly and mentally disabled boarders and disposed the bodies. As an unsuspecting old lady she was able to evade the police at first but was eventually caught and sentenced to life without parole and died of natural causes in March 27th 2011.

Belle Gunness


Belle Sorenson Gunness was born Brynhild Paulsdatter Størseth on November 11, 1859 in SelbuNorway. At 5 feet and 8 inches and weighing over 200 lbs she was known as a physically powerful woman but had endured brutal beatings resulting in a miscarriage in her homeland. In America she killed over 40 people, most were suitors and boyfriends to whom she lured to her house through newspaper ads. Her motives were usually financial but were often a reaction to the threat of being caught. On the night of April 28th 1908, Belle burned her house down after killing her children inside, left an extra headless corpse to fake her own death and fled. The police confirmed the headless body was not hers, however Belle was never caught. 

Dana Sue Gray

Dana Sue Gray was born December 6, 1957 in Orange County, California. She was raised by a notoriously vain and aggressive mother and a passive father. Dana experienced multiple miscarries, abortions she didn’t want and a life long struggle with a serious compulsive shopping disorder. She is described as a great athlete with a focus on extreme sports such as windsurfing and skydiving. She murdered three elderly women in 1994 in their homes by strangling them with a telephone cord. Gray committed these murders primarily to feed her insatiable shopping addiction. After killing she immediately went shopping, sometimes with her step-son who waited in the car during the murders. She is now imprisoned in the California Women’s Prison in Chowchilla.

The Bender Family: The Bloody Benders

The Benders were a mysterious serial killer family who owned a smal general store and inn in Labette County, Kansas from 1871 to 1873. The supposedly German family included John Bender, his wife Mrs. Bender, daughter Kate, and son John Jr . Kate was known to advertise psychic abilities and seduced men to their inn for the family to murder. The family constructed a special killing routine; the father would hide behind a curtain located behind the guests chair, under which there was a trap door. The father would strike the right side of their head with a hammer, the daughter Kate or the mother would then slit their throats and the body would be robed and disposed. After killing a well-connected man they were forced to flee and split up, never to be seen again. The Benders soon became a cult legend and bore many diverse and colorful stories of conclusion, none of which could be verified.

 Jane Toppan

Jane Toppan was born in 1857 as Honora Kelley in Boston, Massachusetts. She became a nurse who is one of the most notorious female serial killers in American history. Her father was well known for being severely insane and abandoned her and her sister at the Boston Female Asylum when she was 6 years old. She confessed to 31 murders and is quoted as saying that her ambition was “to have killed more people — helpless people — than any other man or woman who ever lived…”. She derived intense sexual pleasure from administering drug mixtures of morphine and atropine to bring the victim back and forth from near death as she lay in bed with them, holding them close to her as they died. For female serial killers it is rare to have a sexual satisfaction rather than a financially based motive. Jane was determined guilty by reason of insanity and was committed for life at the Taunton Insane Hospital in Massachusetts where she died of natural causes in 1938.

Juana Barraza

Juana  Barraza was born in 1956 in Hidalgo, a rural town in Mexico. Her mother was an alcoholic who allegedly sold her for three beers to a man who repeatedly raped her and by whom she had four children with in total. Juana later became a professional Mexican wrestler named La Dama del Silencio, or “The Silent Lady”. She murdered up to 49 elderly women in a methodical execution in which she evaded capture for almost a decade. Juana bludgeoned, strangled and robbed her victims and in some cases sexually assaulted them. She was sentenced to 759 years in jail and remains there to this day.

Amelia Dyer

Amelia Elizabeth Dyer née Hobley was born in 1838 in Pyle Marsh, Bristol, England and was one of, if not the most prolific baby murderers of all time. She was not a product of poverty or abuse but in fact an educated woman who grew up in a seemingly average environment. She later exploited baby-farming, in which unwed mothers who could no longer keep their babies would pay a one time fee to someone like Amelia who would care for them and could be returned when the mother was ready. However Amelia relocated so many times that the mothers were never reunited. She starved, neglected and cruelly murdered around 400 babies in a 20-year span, all for financial gain. Edging tape around the infant’s neck “was how you could tell it was one of mine” she said, as the bodies were discovered. She was hung on June 10th 1896.

Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed was born August 7th 1560 in Hungary and was a countess from the highly distinguished Báthory family, even richer than the King. During this time, extreme violence was constantly on display, be it from war or a tool of discipline. She was exceptionally brilliant and independent, even when married which was unique during this time period. Her notorious obsession with youthful beauty grew exponentially as she experimented with the heretic arts and eventually, with human blood.

The tale dictates that upon hitting a servant girl a splash of blood landed on Bathory’s hand. Once wiped it away she was convinced that it made her skin look younger. As a woman of enormous power, she gathered hundreds of women (specifically virgins) to work as a servants to whom she later tortured and bled dry. The estimated number of victims is a topic of debate but it is commonly known to be as many as 500-650 or more women. She was known for many distinctive torture techniques and her beast-like passion, but above all the addiction to blood and youthful skin. She would regularly bathe in it, drink it and occasionally eat human flesh.

Finally, the Countess was caught after numerous witness reports and her own long-term servants who came forward. She was not put to death, however was immured (walled in solitary confinement and left to die) with only a small opening for food in it for the rest of her life. She died alone in her cell when she was 54 years old. The exact day of death was undetermined due to the many untouched plates of food they found with her body.

Bathory (quote from The Countess) : I wish I was born a man. I would have killed thousands in battle; I would have been a hero.

Thanks so much for visiting, as always there will be a sketch of the week so be sure to come to check it out!

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Until next time



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