Friday, November 6, 2009

Etta Baker

Etta Baker
22x30"watercolor on 300 lb. Arches

I'm not convinced that this one is really complete - but I have the urge to move on with this series. October was a tough month to keep the studio flowing, with travel and visitors and birthdays - you know the story. So I am posting this as it is now, but may prove to be a WIP after a while, don't know...

Etta Baker was this beautiful woman who played the Piedmont blues as long as a person could possibly have. She was learning the guitar from her father at an age when she couldn't even hold the guitar properly. Etta had a life apart from music, working a factory job and raising a family. It wasn't really until her later years that she started performing for larger audiences and the resulting acclaim that followed. She proved to be influential to younger artists such as Dylan and Taj Mahal. Etta lived not too far from here in Morganton, NC, but I never had a chance to see her play. But somehow I have gained a special attachment to this woman, as I'm sure many have.


Ellen said...

Gary, I had heard of Etta but never really heard her. I like what she said about the guitar being an everyman's (my word not hers) instrument. I always think of drifters and troubadors myself. She played beautifully.

In any case, you did real justice to her. Your painting is wonderful and I especially like the screen door. They always seem so down home and so does Etta. I applaud you for your choice and for what you produced. An excellent job all the way around.

Shelley Ross said...

Very nice painting! I can see how much work went into that. The background is not simple. She looks very happy in your painting!
I like the looseness of the door and siding behind her on the left and the precision of the guitar frets and strings.

It was good to hear her music, thanks for posting the video.


AutumnLeaves said...

What a lovely tribute to a woman whom you admire. I love the joy and light you've captured in her face!

Silvia Williams Paints Watercolors said...

What a wonderful painting. You have really captured her musical spirit. Thanks for leaving a comment on my blog. I love your Edisto door, too. Silvia

Leslie Hawes said...

What is it about the magic of 'front porch' music?
She is wonderful, and a great addition to the Blues series. Great painting.
And isn't that some rich sound coming out of that guitar?

Prabha N. said...

Wonderful painting! I wish I could hear her but the video isnt loading in my browser...will have to figure out how! I think its challenging to paint portraits in watercolor! Commendable!

Rosemary said...

I have been back to this painting and the video clip a number of times! I love the painting - what a tribute to Etta and her talents! As a native NC "mountain girl", I want to say thank you for documenting this thread that runs through our lives! The blues, gospel and bluegrass - that's us- that's who we are!

Her smile is beautiful, love your color choice for her sweater and that screen door - ah - that screen door!! Those runs! This one goes way beyond WOW!