The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for entertainers because of the social distancing requirements. Concerts have been cancelled all over the country. Local Portland country music singer Ronnie McDowell has taken this time to make use of his second passion - painting.
McDowell is known for his art work and many of his prints are displayed in local businesses. He has completed over a dozen paintings during the pandemic.
According to McDowell, one of his favorite paintings during this time was one he did for his friends Jack and Barbara Hunter. According to Jack, he had wanted to ask McDowell to do a painting of their granddaughter Kristen Kay Hunter who passed away in 2009 and their son Scott Anthony Hunter who passed away in 2014.
The Hunters wanted McDowell to paint the father and daughter together in one painting. Jack felt this might be a good time to approach McDowell about doing the painting.
McDowell worked with his son Tyler on the painting. Tyler did the composition work and McDowell did the painting. All they were given was a Christmas picture of the two together. Tyler and McDowell created the front porch background and added Kristen Kay and Scott sitting together on a rocking chair.
McDowell said, “I felt that Scott was talking to me while I was painting. I wanted to get the sparkle in his eyes and I think I caught that. I hoped that the painting would bring a lot of comfort to them and I realized that it would when I gave them the painting.
According to McDowell he never knows what journey his paintings will take. He has a painting of young Elvis that made a journey to the birthplace of Elvis in Tupelo, Miss., where it hangs in the house.
Elvis Presley continues to be one of McDowell’s favorite subjects to paint. While he had time to paint, he decided to commemorate Elvis’s phenomenal success in the music business after he was told by Opry manager Jim Denny that he should return to Memphis to resume his truck-driving career after his first and last performance at the Ryman.
The painting has a smiling Elvis standing beside his pink Cadillac parked in front of the Ryman Auditorium. The painting catches the essence of how Elvis must have felt about his career path as he remembered being devastated by Denny’s comment.
Fans can tune in Ronnie McDowell Live on Facebook on Friday and Saturday nights at 7 p.m., as he performs at various venues including the Donoho Hotel in Red Boiling Springs.