Gallery One: 1998 and Before

In September 1986 I packed my eldest daughter off to UC Santa Barbara, and with her a male friend. Both of them left piles of their former lives around my house. Among his cast-offs was a canvas crudely painted with a teenage fantasy: a green monster eating a man headfirst.
At that time my contact with Western art was limited to the Hillsborough Antique Show, admiring California painters who died before World War II, and whose works I could not afford. I have been a confident artist all my life in one medium or another; my degrees are in Theater Arts, and I have worked in set and costume design, fabric arts, calligraphy and manuscript illumination. But in November 1986 I came home frustrated from the antique show, dug a box of acrylics and an old Arizona Highways magazine from my daughter's pile, chose a subject, a photo of the desert, green after sudden rain, and got great satisfaction painting over the monster.
A friend arrived at the door. "Whoa," she said, "Where'd you get that?"
" I painted it."
"Just now."
"How much do you want for it?"
This aspect had honestly never occurred to me.
"One hundred dollars."
She whipped out her checkbook and wrote me a check.