Here’s how this legendary airbrush painting came about…
This photo-realistic mural was painted back in 1997 at the age of 21 just as Fleetwood Mac began their reunion tour. The idea began back stage during a ZZ top concert at the Columbia Gorge.
I had gathered with my family and friends in the massive crowd of anxious ZZ top fans at the beautiful outdoor concert venue known as the Columbia River Gorge. The band had yet to come on. Somehow, my mom’s boss had scored the both of them back-stage passes to the show. My mom, being generous to a fault, handed me her pass with a smile. I couldn’t believe it. “Really?” I asked.
“You will have a better time than I would,” my mom said. Everyone near me was staring at me, frozen in shock. “Hurry,” she said. “The show is about to start.”
Ticket in hand, I rushed off towards the stage. It was quiet, with very few people around. Before long, I found her boss eating his fill of the buffet. From the noise, it was obvious that the band was about to play, so I left him to his pastries and found myself at the side of the stage, grinning ear to ear. Standing off to the side behind the curtain, I got a cool look from behind those dark sunglasses and then the crowd erupted. Ecstatic, I raced back to my seat.
The show was a blur to me as night fell and once it was over, I found myself standing amongst legends and feeling waaay under dressed. I really don’t even remember what we briefly talked about. After a time, we were invited on their huge chrome tour bus. The band had retired somewhere and my mom’s boss and I sat with a dude who had hooked up a talented airbrush artist with work for the band. “What would you like to drink,” he asked?
“What do you have,” I replied?
“No, what do you want to drink,” he asked again with a smile.
I shrugged and said: “I’ll have a Pepsi.”
We began chatting while I sipped on my soda, aware that I probably could have been drinking just about anything my heart desired. The guy told me about Fleetwood Mac’s upcoming tour and said that if I did a painting of them that he could get them to sign it.
When I got back home to the Tri-Cities, I cleared out a wooden shed beside the small trailer where my girlfriend and I lived. My dad had loaned me his Rumors album and I went to work. At the time, I was working full time out of town with the carpenter’s union and so on my free time, I toiled away in that cramped little shed with a lantern plugged into an extension cord.
I had sectioned off the picture in grids, painting freehand, the paint flowing effortlessly from my Badger 2000 airbrush. I’ve no idea how long I spent on that painting. Still, I do remember the most difficult part was capturing Stevie Nicks like she was in that small photo and the wild expression on Mick Fleetwood’s face.
The band had already begun their reunion tour when the paint finally dried. Satisfied with myself, I called the dude I met at the ZZtop concert. The phone number was no longer in service. Soon, I began to hear rumors that the man may have been a con artist, selling guitars signed by piano players and so on. It was a bit disappointing but the disappointment soon fled as I stood facing an iconic picture, unaware that the photography of Herbert Worthington would help set my life on its course.
Over the next several months, I began practicing watercolors from Herbert’s iconic photos of the band, read Mick’s autobiography and felt a calling to check out the Academy of Art in San Francisco. It was my ego that led me there, I am sure; convinced that it was the best art college in the country. But after a semester I discovered that it would be another two years of school until I could pick up a paintbrush. And so, I found my inspiration in the city, Golden Gate Park and the feeling of nostalgia pulled at me, compelling me to paint; free of the burdens of school. And in the year 2000 I found myself back in Washington State, back amongst family. That winter, I completed several paintings and also my first nude watercolor, having now the confidence and skill to pull it off.
The following spring, I took a gamble and left my job as a cook and began the first full season as a professional artist, living often times off of the income provided by my self-published work and at other times, by the charity of my fellow artists. But that, is another story.
Edited from the Original Post to the>>> Official Fleetwood Mac Facebook Fan Page <<<