Deep Ellum Blues
Once upon a time I used to live in Dallas, Texas, and there was a fabulous club and music scene in an area called Deep Ellum. My friend Suzi and I both worked at the best ad agency in the city and we worked HARD. And at the end of a long day we'd go listen to live music and have a big old margarita.
This particular painting took forever to finish because the woman in this piece never had a face for the longest time. I don't know why. But without a face I thought she looked too much like death with those bony hands, and I didn't want a painting that's so overtly about death. So I gave her some lips and eyes and now she looks like a fish to me. Probably because she's drinking like a fish - I mean, look at all those glasses on her table. So when you're feeling down about a painting and you think it's too depressing, remember... you can almost always make it more fish-like and that's guaranteed to put you in a better mood.
Little side story: when I worked at this ad agency we hired an amazing illustrator named Jack Unruh to do artwork for a petroleum company ad. The piece he made had a lot of fish in it. And when I was working on this "Deep Ellum Blues" piece I was remembering Dallas and the agency and remembering the gigantic files where we used to store "oversized artwork". I thought "oh, how awful if Jack's artwork is still buried in those dusty, old files." Then I imagined the art director tippy-toeing into that file room, late at night, with a flash light, and pulling that beautiful Unruh to bring it to a framer. And I felt better.