The more facts I can gather when creating a painting, the more exciting it is for me, and particularly exciting this time was being able to connect with Eddie Kramer (Jimi’s recording engineer) who relayed that he rode with Jimi in the Stingray in New York City. When Eddie saw the final painting he kindly wrote to me that it “looks fabulous”, and that I had “certainly captured him and his beloved Vette”.
His words meant so much to me. The great writer Sheila Weller (“Girls Like Us”), who early in her career interviewed Jimi at the Shokan house near Woodstock in September ’69, told me that he had his Corvette there. I knew the area from my years majoring in art at Bard College on the Hudson, so I placed Jimi and the car at the lovely Ashokan Reservoir at the foot of the Catskills near his house.
To add to the narrative quality of the painting I read all of his song lyrics and I was drawn to some visual items that could be woven in, such as a line from Voodoo Chile: “…set me on an eagle’s wing” and a line in Little Wing: “…butterflies and zebras”. This gave me a similar opportunity as my Robert Johnson painting with references in paint to the poetic nature of the musician. Adding these elements to a painting is very enjoyable for me. And, in a magical moment I saw a bald eagle over Route 28 on my way to photograph the reservoir.