A painting is worth a thousand words, or at least a story?

My husband rides his bike to work almost every day. When it’s raining out, sometimes he takes a bus. These two ladies were on the bus with him. Now here’s their (fabricated) story. Mei and Lin were children in the same town in China. They both moved to Seattle at about the same time and they now live on the same street. They have been friends all this time. It is wonderful to have a friend that speaks your dialect and shares your memories. There was a 3rd woman from their town, Shaoqin, who also moved to Seattle. Shaoqin was from a formerly wealthy family and put on airs. Mei and Lin couldn’t stand the woman, and her children grew up with the same attitude.
That day while they were on the bus, it suddenly started to rain. As the bus pulled in to the intersection of 12th and Jackson, Mei and Lin saw Shaoquin’s daughter; running in the sudden downpour. As usual, she had on too much make up. The makeup was running down her face. This spectacle transfixed the two women, and as a result they missed their bus stop.

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Needle Case and other funny names for tunes

In a previous life, I played stand up bass for an old time string band. As a bass player, you are not really required to think much and as a result you tend to meditate a lot as you play tunes. Tunes with funny names, like Needle case and The girl with the blue dress and Yellow Barber. The list is as long as it is colorful, so as I played the simple rhythms, I would imagine just what these things looked like. Some of course, weren’t so nice, like Yellow Barber refers to a person of mixed racial heritage, but others, like Needle Case, simply referred to things that are no longer common. So I thought it would be fun to paint some of them one day. Just last week, I asked my good buddy Nants for an idea for a postcard painting. She wanted a painting of a guy playing Needle case. So I did that but it just didn’t seem right. So after I got that done, I painted a needle case.

and here’s the tune:

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I’m adopted!


It was worth a try; I always wanted to paint a bluecream kitten. In reality, these colors are meant to help disguise the animal, a type of protective camouflage. But as an artist, my mission is to take these colors and and make them pretty. To add to the fun, I used an odd kind of paper, so there was no certainty of the results. Siena was a very wild and frightened kitten. We worked with her extensively, her sensitivity and intelligence made her one of our favorites. The painting shows just how frightened and tentative she was; but we also know that she turned into a wonderful happy pet.

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He sure can play that guitar

I was entranced by 1935 photo of a young man playing his guitar. I thought it would be fun to paint him. I tried it once and was very unhappy with how it came out. So I waited until after I attended a wonderful watercolor workshop by Ted Nuttall and tried again. This time, it came out the way I like. He’s playing a G chord. In my life music has always been a big element. This painting is an attempt to express those feelings.
This painting is still for sale and I have a print of it for sale as well.

The second of this series, I called the Red Hots, I wish I knew their real name. It’s from a 1938 photo taken by Russell Lee for the Farm Administration. Apparently, the photo was taken in the town where Tabasco hot sauce was made. This painting is sold, but I have prints and postcards available.

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Paint my grandpa


How many times do you reminisce about someone you loved; after they have died? And you don’t even own a nice photo of them. Artists can come to the rescue, using tiny old black and white photos. I got to know this guy after he died. I could see him through the loving eyes of his grandchildren as I read their eulogies. I found some photos of his life on line and got a feeling for him. Yet the only really nice photos of him showed him at the very end of his life, and both the family and I wanted to see him vibrant and happy, so I ended up using a 1.5″ x 3″ b&w photo from 1960 as a reference. This is my first commissioned painting.

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