The Master's Prodigy
I was sitting at home, minding my own business, when I suddenly saw an image in my head. I raced upstairs to my studio and 20 minutes later emerged with this painting. I was all aglow with a sense of accomplishment when I showed it to my husband. Looking up from his evening paper, he said, "So you can paint a turban", and went back to the sports page. I like it anyway. I think she represents women under pressure. Let the world be in turmoil around us, we hold our head high and we go through life - with grace.
This painting sold for $1100.00 at the Fresno Art Auction on their PBS station. I was pleased, but stunned. Even more stunned when I found that the Director of the Fresno Art Museum was its new owner. It's one of my favorites.
You know how some things bring you pleasure and you can't really explain why? This is one of those things for me.
"The Gold Bank"
Ah! At last a painting that got my husband's attention. It remained one of his favorites. It was the third painting I attempted, after I had that dream. I didn't know how to paint on canvas (I thought you had to stretch it yourself, and that seemed daunting!), so I painted on plywood. Later, I learned that the Old Masters painted on 5-ply wood. I was delighted and amazed. Thereafter, my husband referred to me as his Old Mistress. I think he meant it kindly.
My mom lived in the country for 30 years. I loved going there (Palatka, Florida). This was on a mailbox near her house. It caught my heart and just wouldn't let go.
"Lost in the Gold"
Working at MGM and in films for so many years, it was sad to see how musicians and actors and writers often lost their very soul once the money came pouring in. They simply lost themselves in the gold.
Look what all the lad has! He has a bicycle, his flag, a sweater (on the handlebars) to keep him warm, a shady tree for dreaming under - and best of all, the front door to his modest little home is open! He's loved. Ah, a rich kid indeed.
I realize her head is flat enough to roll out bread dough, but I like the lady. My dear friend, Diane Reed, bought it. Maybe out of sympathy (she has a soft heart for starving artists), but I'm so glad she has it. I hope it brings her the same sense of peace it brings me when I look at it.
There's really no story with this one. It just looks like a place in which I'd like to stroll. I couldn't find such a location, so I created it, hung it over my mantle in my Mt. Dora, Florida house, and went there in my mind. Very peaceful.
"Over the Rainbow"
The way we'll always remember Judy, don't you think? I was so blessed to have spent some years at MGM where so much magic was created, at a time when movie makers really cared about their audiences. There used to be a Judy Garland bungalow on the lot. I think today it's named after Madonna or some such. Who would have ever guessed when I painted this in Seal Beach, California that I would one day live in the Land of Oz, right here in Topeka, and be involved with the Topeka Art Guild? There's a museum dedicated to the yellow brick road and all that goes with, right outside Topeka. If you get to the area, don't miss visiting it.
"Lady of the House on Red"
I'm not really so much a cat as a dog person, but I couldn't resist this. Doesn't she look as if she owns the place, though? Trixie, in the first painting in this gallery, was captured by a coyote and I grived for her for a very long time. Itty Bit, who owned me for 11 years, died this past Thanksgiving. I don't think I'll bring another little master or mistress into the house; the loss is just too great when they go.
To be honest, I remember this America, too, but I was thinking more about my mom's era when I painted it. I was so bitterly disappointed in it, that I took a knife and, deciding between this painting and one of my ears, ripped the canvas to shreds. Glad I took a photo first. It's kind of grown on me.
Another one of those things that one creates just for the joy of creating.
"Cock Under Glass"
One of my few oil paintings.
Why does "yesterday" always seem to be in technicolor and today in black and white? It was certainly a sweeter time, though, wasn't it? Or...maybe I was sweeter.
Another husband displeaser, but one I really like. "What the devil is that red thing all about?": he' mused, staring at our wall piece. I don't know. Why does it have to be about something? I still have the painting - but not the husband.
"Home on the Range"
This was maybe my fourth painting, first on canvas. I had the opportunity to show it in a gallery in 29 Palms, CA that was owned by the daughter of actor James Cagney. I was beside myself with glee. I went and who arrived, chauffeured in a long black limo, but former first lady Betty Ford. I heard her say to someone while looking at my painting, "Reminds me of Georgia O'Keefe." I thought she said George Keefe and I murmured to my host, "I'm afraid I don't know him." So...I went to the library when I got back home to see who this artist George Keefe might be. Imagine my red face when I realized what was meant! Well, like I say, I had a dream one night and the dream said, in a most authorative voice, "You will paint tomorrow." That doesn't amount to a whole lot of art education.
"Trixie Home Alone"
My step-daughter Rean said, "Momma, can you watch my cat for a few days?" And so Trixie owned this devoted dog person, lock, stock and barrel for so long as her sweet little soul roamed this earth. Her favorite pastime, when not dropping rodents at my feet as a gift, was to get inside a pillow case when I made the bed, and let me swing her around like she was in some crazy wind tunnel. Oh how she adored that! Crazy kid. Uh, the cat, not the step-daughter.
Bette Davis Eyes, James Dean, Bogart and Marilyn. I'd been painting for about three months or so and decided that I really should take a class, since I'd never even thought about painting before that Thanksgiving week dream. By this time, I was a member of the Society of Western Artists, The National Museum of Women in the Arts and the American Council of Women Artists. But still, I had to admit I knew nothing about painting. So, I signed up for a class at a community center. As I was taking the Marilyn painting out of my car, the instructor pulled up beside me. She got out, studied my little effort for a moment, shook her head and said, "Keep working. I'll try to show you how to get it right." Embarrassed, I put it back in the car. A couple of weeks later, I sold Marilyn through a Long Beach, CA gallery for several hundred dollars.
The concept is from imagination, the chair from my dining room.
My son, Dean, lived in Fresno, CA, but often came to see us in Seal Beach, CA when he wasn't flying (he worked for an airline). His camera was never out of reach, and this is a house he spotted on one of his trips home.
My step-daughter brought me a photo of this place and asked if I'd paint it on canvas for her. I went further, and named the enchanting structure after her!
"Lone Pine - On Location"
Most every early western was filmed in Lone Pine, CA (so was Gunga Din). That's why I painted a director in the chair above a set, and a cowboy, no doubt a film extra, watching on the sidelines, at dusk. Last time I saw the painting, it was hanging in the Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce building.
"Woman on the Prairie"
I was taking this out of the trunk of my car at a Society of Western Art show in Fresno, when a woman came running across the parking lot, yelling, "I've got to have that!" I almost didn't bring it along; I never thought it was very good. You never know, you just never know...
"Spirit of the Warrior"
This is another of those paintings that always draws a crowd at an art show. It was first exhibited at the Lone Pine Film Festival where I shared a booth with George Montgomery and his marvelous western sculptures, and Iron Eyes Cody (remember the Indian with one tear running down his cheek, in an early environmental TV and print commercial?). Iron Eyes was bitterly disappointed that the last of those environmental posters brought in only $25 at auction that day. He was certain it would go for at least hundreds, if not thousands. Very sad. The tear running down his cheek that day was genuine.
I painted this while I was still working on board, before I got the nerve to tackle canvas. I wanted to see if I could capture that golden hour when the sun's light drips like honey.
My first experiment in colored pencils..
This lady is very important to me. Four nights after having the dream where I was told that I would "paint the next day", I was sitting at my new easel, thinking about an image in my mind: a little girl with a basket of flowers on her head. I had no idea how to draw, much less paint, a little girl. Or flowers. But I began painting (still on board). I got the flowers pretty much as I had envisioned them, and then I began the hair. Then... I know this will be hard to believe, but it's the truth, I promise ... I just more or less followed the brush, wherever it went. Pretty soon I saw a very strong nose - but not the nose of a child! And then a very strong eye and then a cheek bone and the rest of her face. I was totally stunned! I leaned away from the easel and said out loud, "Hello! Where did you come from!" She was so solid, so real, and she had such wonderful bone structure. Certainly nothing I knew anything about painting. But I went on. Once I stopped to kiss her on the cheek and whisper, "Welcome, whoever you are!" It took about an hour to complete the painting. I marveled at her. When I got up the next morning, I went to see my new friend - and burst out in a squeal that brought my husband running. "Look!" I cried. "She has an elbow!" And, indeed, she did. Right where it belongs. And I didn't paint it there. I call her my Painting Guide.
"Ghost of Times Gone By"
We could always depend on this one painting drawing a crowd. Mostly men. Always nostalgic. One time I asked a man who had been staring it for a very long time, "What do you see when you look at that painting?" He replied simply, "Me." Did you spot the teen ghost?
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