Woodie Long was a
housepainter. His wife, Dot, was an art
student. They lived in
They had friends
who were artists and musicians. Woodie
played banjo. We used to see them at
bluegrass festivals with our other picker friends. From L. A. (Lower
So Woodie was aware of art, aware that people made art, painters painted art, he saw the work their painter friends were doing, and Dot was doing, as an art student.
One day when Dot went to class Woodie asked if he could use her brushes. She said sure. When she came home he had painted three paintings.
She knew they were good.
She showed them to her art teacher. He offered to buy all three of them for $100.
Woodie refused. But he started painting. Soon he had enough for a show.
Three weeks later he showed 38 paintings and sold all but two of them for $1,800.
Woodie was 45 years old. Never been to art school a day in his life.
I asked Dot how many paintings he painted and she wouldn’t say.
But he painted 1,000 paintings a year for 20 years. He sold enough of them to paint full-time.
That’s all most artists want. Woodie had that the last 20 years of his life.
He emerged full-blown from Hera’s ear.
Who knows where an artist comes from?
Emerson said, about Walt Whitman, the heavens rejoice when a new star enters the firmament.
I went to work in
I went. It was a trade show. A convention. A national event.
Woodie was represented by half a dozen dealers. He spent the meet-the-artist day greeting fans.
He was a rock star.
And not just in his own mind.
Woodie was the real article.
Dot never painted again after Woodie’s career took off. She managed his affairs. She kept him from giving the store away.
If you admired something, he’d say, “Here—take it.”
As country as you can get.
He played golf will college presidents.
He played golf with Southeastern Conference college coaches.
Movie stars collected his paintings.
The boys each have a couple.
Owen started painting. Balder writes songs.
The Saunders Brothers. The Doghouse Sessions.
Woodie loved their music.
Keep it in the family.