Brenda of Columbus

Brenda. A barmaid in Columbus. My friend Rita introduced me to her. She was a dominant presence in her domain. I painted her as I saw her, and when the painting was mostly finished, she came over to my place at my invitation so I could take some portrait photos to get the face right. She looked at it and said something like: "Those aren't my eyes." She was right. The eyes were pretty generic at that point.

I took the photos and when I got them back, I was so disappointed with them that I stopped where I was. I had invented a monumental figure seen in the dramatic gloom when the reality was someone quite different and someone whom I could not paint.