Georgie from Baltimore writes:
I wanted to ask about the Memphis Girl painting. Is that a lithograph or a watercolor? It is very striking…probably one of my favorite pieces out of the paintings displayed. What was your inspiration behind that one? Something about it really draws me in.
Roly: Georgie..thanks for the inquiry about that painting. It’s a “snapshot” from a song also called Memphis Girl…a song of mine which is on my record. In the painting you see a girl who’s between two railcars and on the move…pushing along. Have you ever been around a railyard or near a set of tracks at night and had a train go by in the dark? A backlit gap between two cars passes before your eyes and suddenly a quick spark jumps out of the blackness and there’s enough light to see. When this happens around machinery like a train…there are metal surfaces that sparkle and etch out your split-second glimpse mostly in silver and black. If you happen to catch something on the move…you’ll most likely never see it that way exactly again. That painting was meant to be one of those flickering images . A train is going by and there is a succession of “frames” flashing as the couplings open up for second and light comes through…the full moon perhaps hitting you in the face every time the gap opens up between the cars. Those flashes would have been in a repetitious rhythm and looking all about the same until one suddenly comes along exploding you with a human form…the shape of a woman…indeed a woman…poised on the coupling between the boxcars. You’d have seen this for a fraction of one second but it would have been branded in your mind. I organized the painting by going down to the railyard and hiring a stranger i was lucky to come across who was living out in the open down there to work with me for a few hours. It’s a watercolor.