Well, do you remember my post about the trip I made to Elberta’s Place and the inspiration that lead me up a long dirt road? If not, you can enjoy the read here. Anyway, this is my resulting pastel painting of Courtney in her yellow dress that sparked the idea for the composition and had me driving up that dirt road to encounter Thoughts of Elberta, 24” x 36”. I have asked Courtney’s mom, Chenedra, to provide a better accounting of the story behind the painting, but for now I will leave you with the short excerpt written for the Art of the Pastel 2014 judged show at The Center for the Arts & Sciences in Clute, TX where Thoughts of Elberta won Best of Show. The exhibit will be open through March 9th.
In this painting we find Courtney in the midst of memories of Elberta, and her family’s past; thoughts of tilling the soil as slaves near Lufkin, TX, then working the same land as share croppers and finally owning the property. Courtney’s family is now renovating the shotgun house her great-grandfather pieced together from any scrap boards that could be found. Holes around the house are filled with bits of metal cans and new wood joins old to frame replacement windows. Oh, the stories these walls could tell!
This painting represents a story, not of persecution, but of overcoming. This is the true American story; where adversity gives rise to strength.