Art Challenge–Sept. 2014

2015 Art Calendar

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30 Paintings in 30 Days Art Challenge—12 paintings from the art challenge (see selected paintings below) will be chosen to be part of the 2015 Art Calendar.

 


 Art Challenge–Sept. 2014

 

Well, folks, the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge has come to an end.  I am a bit sad.  I had fun challenging myself to create paintings inspired by my books.  It was tough at times but very rewarding.  I will continue to paint images from my books but will also explore new themes.  Here is the last painting in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.

Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 30

 

IMG_3576

Crib Girls No. 3

This is my last painting dealing with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  Crib girls were prostitutes that worked at the Watering Hole–a juke joint–in Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

 

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Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Crib Girls No. 3.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).

 


 

One more day until the end of the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Art Challenge.  It has been a fun ride.  Here is another painting from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  Crib girls were prostitutes that worked in the Watering Hole–a juke joint–in Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

 

Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 29

Day29

The Shoes of a Crib Girl

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “The Shoes of a Crib Girl.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).


Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 28

Day28

Crib Girl No. 2

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  Crib girls were prostitutes that worked in the Watering Hole–a juke joint–in Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

 

***

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Crib Girl No. 2.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).


Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 27

Crib Girl No. 1

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  Crib girls were prostitutes that worked in the Watering Hole–a juke joint–in Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

 

***

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Crib Girl No. 1.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).

 


 

Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 26

Fare Sold at the Watering Hole–A Juke Joint

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  The Watering Hole is a juke joint owned by Buford Tee and Miss Carmelia Faye Lafayette in Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

 

***

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Fare Sold at the Watering Hole–A Juke Joint.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).

 

 


 

Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 25

Day25

Fare Sold at the Nickel and Dimer–A Juke Joint

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  The Nickel and Dimer is a juke joint owned by Buford Tee in Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

 

***

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Fare Sold at the Nickel and Dimer–A Juke Joint.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).


Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 24

Day24

Buford Tee’s Well-Worn Cowboy Boot

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  Buford Tee is one of the main characters  in Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

 

***

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Buford Tee’s Well-Worn Cowboy Boot.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).


 

 

 

Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 23

Miss Carmelia Faye Lafayette

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.   Miss Carmelia Faye Lafayette is Buford Tee Jefferson’s love interest in Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

 

***

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Miss Carmelia Faye Lafayette.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).


Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 22

A Corrupt Mississippi Officer–1920

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  The Hankering, a colored 1920’s juke joint or barrelhouse, was subject to be raided on a regular basis by a corrupt white Mississippi Sheriff and his Deputy henchmen.  They would shake down the barrelhouse owners, demanding a cut of their take to keep from hauling all of their customers down to the jail and running them out of business.  Hawk was determined to end this practice once and for all.  Read more below.

 

Excerpt

Before anyone could make a move, the front door of the joint came crashing down, two burly, white officers rushing in with rifles pointed at all the patrons. Within seconds of the invasion, the back door was caved in, two more white officers racing in with rifles and pistols aimed at the startled crowd.

“Oh, shit,” Ton Stone said. “Just what we needed.”

“Everybody to the wall!” Deputy Avery shouted. “Get your face to the wall, I said, dammit. Right now!”

Intoxicated men and women jumped up and pressed their sweat-soaked, fully inebriated bodies against the wall, some using the wall as a respite from their intoxication, and for others, their highs blown by the invasion into the one place they felt was their own.

Buford Tee and Ton Stone followed suit, not wanting any trouble, particularly Ton Stone, who was one day from leaving this hell hole called the South.

The ex-husband, who had been raided on a regular basis, had grown tired of the shake downs from the corrupt officers. He had paid a pretty penny to them to keep them at bay, but it seemed only to fuel the fire, their demanding more money each time they raided his establishment and their exerting more control over him with each unwanted visit.

“What the hell is this?” he shouted.

“Now, Hawk, you know the drill,” Deputy Avery said. “Cough it up, or your patrons going down to the jailhouse.”

Hawk shook his head, gritting his teeth and cursing the lead officer under his breath, and then he headed to the bar where he had stashed the evening’s till, pulling out a wad of cash and giving it to Deputy Avery, who didn’t even count it.

“Two hundred. Hum. Good work, Hawk. Next week, make it three,” he said, pointing to the newest officer. “Got another one on the payroll, you know.”

The officers started backing out of the joint, their guns still pointed at the patrons, and particularly at Hawk. Deputy Avery was the last to depart, eyeing Miss Carmelia, who had just entered the joint, her face red and bruised on the left side. “I see you can’t control that temper of yours again, Hawk,” Deputy Avery mocked.

Hawk turned to see Miss Carmelia standing at the counter.

“Such a pretty face. Too bad she’s a colored whore,” he added.

With that last comment, Hawk pulled a knife from his back pocket, flicked it open, and tossed it with magnified force at the Deputy who had, simultaneously, lifted his shotgun and fired, the bullet tearing into Hawk’s chest, the force of which propelled him backward into the bar, knocking it over and pinning Miss Carmelia under it. The bouncer pulled his gun to shoot the Deputy, but it was unneeded, the knife slicing into his right eye, paralyzing his body, which seemed to take a moment to collapse. The other officers rushed back inside to see what had happened, the bouncer throwing his gun under a table.

“What the hell happened here?” one of the officers yelled.

“Deputy Avery shot Hawk,” the bouncer said. “And Hawk killed him dead.”

Like chickens with their heads wrung off, the Deputies ran around the joint trying to act tough, harassing the patrons who, repeatedly, said the same statements, “I ain’t seen nothing, Sir. My face was in the wall.”

Frustrated, the Deputies left the colored patrons to tend to Hawk’s body. Two of the officers dragged Deputy Avery’s body out of the joint and placed it in the squad car.

 

***

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “A Corrupt Mississippi Officer-1920.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

 

*****

 

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).


 

Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 21

Day21

The Hankering

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  The Hankering is a juke joint in my novel Bootlegger Haze (Book One–The Saga).  It is owned by Miss Carmelia Faye Lafayette and her ex-husband, Hawk.  Read more below.

 

Excerpt

The Hankering was located down by the railroad in Wayne County, open only on weekends, the only time most Coloreds had off work. It was a place for them to get away from weightiness of the workweek, and particularly, from their white employers, to enjoy a night or two of drinking, of course, but gambling, a little sex, or rather a lot of sex, and dancing also satisfying the desires of the patrons.

Locals made their way to the Hankering in a variety of ways: on horseback, by horse-drawn wagon loaded down with patrons, and even on tractors, on loan for the evening from their employers, pulling flatbed trailers filled with men and women desiring an evening of unbridled pleasure and unadulterated entertainment.

Deputy Avery of Wayne County and some of his officers would sit in their Model T Ford squad cars, watching as the colored folk made their way to the barrelhouse. They’d wait until an hour before midnight to raid the place, when most folks were torn down from drunkenness, and as they put it, involving themselves in all manner of sin and debauchery.

A piano player beat out tunes on the old Steinway piano as colored men and women in their best going-out clothes—women in fitted dresses designed to attract the attention of their male suitors and the men in clean shirts and dungarees, worn only for a night out on the town—strutted their stuff on the wooden plank dance floor, jiggling and twisting, bopping and dipping, their unrestrained dance movements ignited by the lightning bolt effects of the bootleg liquors and beers they consumed.

The owner would set out a barrel of bootleg whiskey and a chock barrel of homemade beer, and men and women with tin cups would dip them in the barrel and partake of the mind-numbing, sense-altering brews. One or two cups would set them up right, but more than that would knock them out. Most folks could handle one or two cups, but not too many could handle much more than that, although many had tried. Those crazy enough to test their mettle would fall prey and be sidelined against the wall of the barrelhouse until the effects wore off; oftentimes, it’d be late the next day before they would make their way back home.

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “The Hankering.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

Check out the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta–http://www.lesliesaeta.blogspot.com/.

*****

I am an artist and an author of southern and historical fiction and short stories.  View all my artwork on my artist page at Daily Paintworks.

Check out more of my artwork at my Art Blog–KPWms Art Studio.

Also check out my novels and short stories.  Katrina Parker Williams’ Books Available at Amazon,  Smashwords, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes).

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 20

2 August's Gourd Banjo

August’s Gourd Banjo

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  August crafts a banjo from a gourd, and his grandson, Buford Tee, finds it very interesting.  Read more below.

 

Excerpt

The next morning, August awoke to the faint sounds of plucked strings, emanating from his banjo downstairs. He stirred slowly, his back having stiffened from the damp, wintry air that had bathed the room during the night. He had not lit a fire in his room the previous night and regretted it now. He sat upright in his discolored union suit, arching his back and rubbing his neck. Then he got out of bed and pulled on his overalls and cotton shirt that lay across the back of the spindled-back rocking chair. After sliding into his night slippers, he eased down the stairs, not wanting to wake Marie Claire who seemed to need all the rest she could get last night, too exhausted to even eat the supper he had fixed for her.

As he descended the stairs, he looked down, finding Buford Tee squatted on the floor at the base of the stairs, his small body hunched over the gourd banjo, examining its design and testing it for sound.

“Ahem,” August said, clearing his throat as he stepped down into the foyer.

Startled, Buford Tee let the banjo drop to the floor, making a thud sound and whirring noises as the rounded base of the gourd wobbled back and forth.

“I’m sorry, Sir,” Buford Tee said nervously, afraid he had broken it, but knowing he shouldn’t have been playing with it as his mama had warned against it the night before.

He stood abruptly and leaned against the newel, waiting for August to strike him, his slim body plastered to the post.

“What’s got you all up in a tether, boy?” August asked, noticing the terror that had swept across the boy’s face.

Buford Tee looked down at the banjo, and August followed. The banjo was undamaged.

 

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “August’s Gourd Banjo.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 19

1 Winston's Stopwatch

Winston’s Gold Fusee Pocket Watch

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  Winston Byron is a character from Bootlegger Haze (Book One–The Saga).  Read an excerpt.

Excerpt

On one occasion Buford Tee, curious about Winston’s pocket watch dangling from his coat pocket, picked it up while Marie Claire and Winston lay in bed in the next room. He examined the pocket watch and case, an eighteen-carat-gold English Fussee with swing-out movement and a key for winding and changing time. But then he dropped it, causing the faceplate to detach from the base. He was paralyzed with fear, having seen the wrath of Winston’s anger yielded at his mama so many times. He wanted to kick it out the window, as far away as it could go, taking him and his mama with it, away from Winston, away from his violent temper, but he decided instead to hide it under the chair, hoping Winston wouldn’t remember he had brought it with him—he always carried it on his person, and he would remember he had brought it with him.

Buford Tee went to his room and waited. And prayed. When Winston prepared to leave, he realized his watch was missing and accused Marie Claire of stealing it, believing she was taking his possessions and especially money from his wallet while he slept. She tried to convince him it was untrue, but he would hear none of it, slapping her to the floor and threatening to behead her if she ever stole from him again. As she struggled to pull herself up, she noticed the watch beneath the chair. Marie Claire knew what had happened to the watch, knowing how curious her son was about shiny objects, but figured it was no use explaining that to Winston. She would use her earnings from Madame Gypsy’s to buy another pocket watch for Winston. But she knew she couldn’t go on like that, her life in jeopardy as well as her son’s.

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Winston’s Gold Fusee Pocket Watch.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 18

Day 18

August’s Moonshine Jug

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.

August Jefferson is a character from Bootlegger Haze (Book One-The Saga).   He learns how to make moonshine from his slave master, Francois.  Read more below.

 

Excerpt

Francois was originally from Kentucky and relocated to Mississippi soon after Everette married Francois’ sister Anne. His ancestors had settled in the Carolina Mountains and then migrated further south into Kentucky for better lands with rich soils for raising crops. They made their living primarily from farming, but in the slow months, they made whiskey from the surplus wheat, rye, and corn. Francois said his grandpapa made whiskey for medicinal purposes and not so much for drinking, but as the demand for spirits grew, his grandpapa’s sole means of income came from making whiskey, particularly for drinking. Francois learned his grandpapa’s whiskey-making operation and began making his own whiskey when he arrived in Mississippi.

No one in the county made whiskey better than Francois, and they were hard-pressed to find any cheaper than his in the surrounding counties. He had a monopoly on the spirit within a three-county radius. He shipped much of his liquor to New Orleans, his largest whiskey market. He would make his bi-weekly trips down the Pearl River into New Orleans. It would take him a day to go and return. As his business grew, he employed a sea captain and several hired hands to ship his cargo safely to and from New Orleans.

August had the duty of manning the whiskey still while Francois was away. It didn’t take August long to learn Francois’s whiskey-making operation, but Francois warned that he, nor any of the slaves, should partake in any of the spirits, lest they be whipped severely. On several occasions August would accompany Francois on his expeditions to New Orleans. August watched carefully and studied every aspect of Francois’s operation. He learned quickly. One day, once a free man, he would run his own whiskey-making operation. He wouldn’t flee, though. He had too much to lose.

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “August’s Moonshine Jug.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 17

IMG_3912

Tulane’s Dress Boot–1895

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  Tulane Broussard is a character from Bootlegger Haze (Book One-The Saga).  She befriends Marie Claire Jefferson after meeting her at the Louisiana State Normal School, a college for colored teachers.   After causing Marie Claire and herself to get kicked out of the school, she convinces Marie Claire to become a saloon girl.  Read more below.

Excerpt

Tulane’s strong influence on Marie Claire was evident from their initial encounter, Tulane wasting no time inducting Marie Claire into the cruel realities of adulthood from the fine art of smoking cigarettes to the harsh delights of potent liquors to educating her on the lascivious nature of the opposite sex. The first night they arrived at the school, Tulane convinced Marie Claire to sneak out and follow her to the local saloon. She had seen the saloon on her way into the city and decided it would be her first site of exploration for that evening.

Tulane and Marie Claire stood outside the saloon, watching the crowd of people entering the joint, the clatter of the Steinway piano playing inside the saloon filling the evening air. Tulane pulled out a cigarette and lit it, imitating the fashionably dressed women in hats elaborately adorned in eye-catching confections of flowers and ribbons in the vibrant colors of reds, blues, golds, and blacks. As they sauntered into the saloon on the arms of finely dressed gentlemen in a frock coats, derbies, and top hats, their gloved hands dangled cigarettes from their fingertips, giving them an air of feigned sophistication.

Tulane passed the lit cigarette to Marie Claire who hesitantly took a puff. She inhaled and, without realizing it, swallowed the smoke. She began coughing and gagging, her chest burning inside and her nasal cavity raw from the sting of the smoke that exited her nose and mouth simultaneously. Tulane giggled as Marie Claire struggled for air.

Tulane offered her another cigarette, and Marie Claire, still tasting the bitterness lingering in her mouth, cried out, “No, I don’t want any more of that. That’s the foulest-tasting concoction I’ve ever had.”

“What’s wrong? You ain’t never smoked before?” Tulane asked.

“No, I haven’t,” Marie Claire said timidly, as if she had missed out on some great life-affirming act that other girls her age would have already experienced.

“I’ve been smoking since I was ten,” Tulane said proudly.

“You have? I ain’t never smoked before.”

“You’re a prude.”

“Everyone can’t be as worldly as you,” Marie Claire said, realizing just how sheltered her life had been in comparison to Tulane’s free-spirited upbringing.

“Well, maybe something else is more your fancy,” Tulane said, noticing a gentleman who had come outside the saloon, leaning against the lamppost and lighting a cigarette.

She walked over to him and, from Marie Claire’s vantage point, seemed to cajole the gentlemen into giving her something. A few minutes later she returned to show Marie Claire a flask filled with Wild Turkey Bourbon the man had given her. In thanks for his gift, Tulane waved to the gentleman who was still leaning against the lamppost.

“This is more like it,” Tulane said, twisting the cap and taking a swig of the potent liquor and letting it linger in her mouth for a second, her jaw swollen to lessen the sharpness as it rolled to the back of her mouth.

She swallowed and felt the heat as the liquor made its way down to her stomach. She handed the bottle to Marie Claire, who wasn’t as daring as Tulane, taking a sip at first, the liquor leaving a stinging sensation on the tip of her tongue. She took a bigger swig and this time could feel the kick as the liquor warmed her insides.

“See, nothing to it,” Tulane said, smiling at Marie Claire.

“Hum,” Marie Claire said, feeling the intoxicating effects take root.

They spent the evening smoking, drinking, and watching the parade of men and women exiting and entering the saloon. They drank the entire contents of the bottle, Tulane consuming the better portion of it, until they were fully intoxicated. By early morning, they made their way back to the schoolhouse, sneaking into their rooms, unnoticed.

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Tulane’s Dress Boot–1895.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

 

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 16

Winston’s Gray Felt Derby Hat–1895

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (BooksOne and Two) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  Winston Byron is a character from my novels Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).  He is involved in an extra-marital affair with Marie Claire Jefferson.  It is not a relationship that ends well for her.  Read more below.

Excerpt

That afternoon, after leaving her son with her papa, Marie Claire arrived back in New Orleans, now regretting that she had left without telling her papa goodbye. She knew he would be wondering what was going on with her, but she wasn’t ready to face him, nor the truth. She had ruined her life, and now she was going to ruin her son’s life. She saw no recourse but to leave him with someone who could do better for him than she had. Someone who would love him as much as she did. August was that person. She had believed that Winston would be that person, but he disappointed her so.

She walked from the train depot to her boarding room in a fog, not sure if she had made the right decision to leave her son. She worried that he would never understand why, that he would always believe his mama didn’t love him. He would hate her. Tears streamed down her face as she pulled out her key to unlock the door, a pennant-shaped streak of sunlight splitting the dimness of the room. She entered and set her bag down on the floor, noticing a gray, felt derby hat on the wooden pine table and a walking stick propped up against the Queen Anne chair, broken from the brawl between her and Winston a couple of days earlier.

Before she could take a second step, a pair of hands gripped her neck from behind, pulling her body into his and squeezing tightly, Marie Claire struggling to grasp his arms but unable to sustain a grip. The man’s hands tightened even more and lifted her off the floor, her breath escaping from her, her eyes bulging from the pressure and forcing tears from them, her face reddening and then growing pale, then blue, her hands falling limp, her body giving way to death.

The man continued to squeeze tightly until he was sure he had expunged all life from her body, allowing her corpse to fall to the floor. He picked up his gray, felt derby hat and walking cane and opened the door.

Taking one last look back, he said under his breath, “Whore,” and exited the room, closing the door behind him.

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Winston’s Gray Felt Derby Hat–1895.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 15

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The Red Light District–1895

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books OneandTwo) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.

The Red Light District is a term designated to an area where prostitution or sex-oriented businesses are prevalent.  The red lights outside the building or in the lit rooms were used as signs that the building was a brothel.

Read an excerpt about brothels from Bootlegger Haze (Book One–The Saga) Madame Gypsy’s Pleasure Parlor was one of the most popular saloons and brothels, as well as one of the most disreputable establishments in the city, patronizing both Whites and Coloreds. Every weekend the saloon would be filled with beer-swilling, foul-mouthed, trash-talking, sex-starved, aggressive men coming from every harbor and reformatory in the city. Madame Gypsy employed twelve girls, mostly as saloon girls, but five of those girls worked the brothel, including Tulane. The saloon girls provided liquored drinks and beer to the male patrons, beer selling for five cents a glass, and liquor shots selling for ten cents.  The Pleasure Parlor was housed in a three-story building, the third-floor rooms rented out by the week to the girls on the house staff as their place of lodging, and the second-floor rooms rented out by the night to male patrons who wanted a quick lay.

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “The Red Light District–1895.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 14

Marie Claire’s Dress Shoe–1895

 

My next paintings will deal with characters and scenes from my Bootlegger Haze (Books One andTwo) for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.

We will begin with Marie Claire, August Jefferson’s daughter, whom he has not seen in years.  She was sent off to attend school at the Louisiana State Normal School, a teaching college for Coloreds which prepared colored women to teach in colored public schools.  She meets up with a wild young girl, Tulane Broussard, who convinces her to sneak out of her school room to comb the streets of New Orleans.  They are soon caught and expelled from the school.  They don’t know what to do, Marie Claire refusing to contact her father for help.  They find refuge at a saloon, being hired as saloon girls in return for room and board.   Marie Claire meets Winston, a wealthy white man who takes an interest in her immediately.  They form a relationship, Marie Claire unaware that he is a married man.  When she discovers this fact, she confronts Winston, who convinces her that he will leave his wife to be with her exclusively.  That never happens.  Marie Claire becomes pregnant with their son, Buford Tee, whom Winston never claims as his own.  They continue their torrid affair, even though Winston never leaves his wife.  When Marie Claire fears for her life and the safety of her son, she returns to Ellisville, Mississippi, to see her father.  She leaves Buford Tee with him, returning to New Orleans only to be killed by the man she loves.

Read more about Marie Claire in Bootlegger Haze (Book One–The Saga).

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Marie Claire’s Dress Shoe–1895.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 13

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Rock

Here is a painting on the theme of racism for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  My paintings are reflective of the stories in my Trouble Down South and Other Storiesshort story collection and my novel Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

This is a painting of a colored World War I soldier, named Rock, who saves a whole white infantry unit. Hezekiah Bennett–nicknamed Rock in the War because he had a head shaped like a rock, all lumpy and dented–is a war hero. But Rock doesn’t receive a hero’s welcome when he returns to the homefront at War’s end.  This painting was inspired by my short story “Rock (A Short Story).

 

Excerpt

As soldiers returned home from the War, they were surprised to learn that alcohol was banned in the States. They were angry, particularly, because alcohol was sold unreservedly overseas and they could indulge freely while on their tour of duty. The soldiers couldn’t believe the evangelists and prohibitionists, that they had risked their lives for, had taken away a freedom they believed was guaranteed by the Constitution, something that helped them keep their sanity during the War, many coming home from the War addicted to the intoxicating brew.

Many colored soldiers made their way.to the Nickel and Dimer, dressed in their military uniforms, to knock back a few bottles of whiskey, tell some war stories, and gamble. The crowd welcomed the soldiers like they were colored celebrities. One soldier, in particular, Hezekiah Bennett, nicknamed Rock in the War because he had a head shaped like a rock, all lumpy and dented, bragged about how he saved a whole white infantry unit, telling the story with zeal, other soldiers refusing to recant their war stories, wanting only to forget the whole experience, the nightmares and flashbacks paralyzing them to the point they couldn’t acclimate themselves back into society.

“At daybreak, you see, we were starting our advancement,” Rock narrated, holding a whiskey bottle in one hand and a soldier’s smoke in the other.

“Yeah, and what happened then?” one patron asked, listening intently to his tale.

“The enemy forces were closing in, you see,” Rock added.

“Uh huh, uh huh,” another patron said, urging Rock on, who had paused to take a swig of whiskey and a long drag on his Camel cigarette.

“There were men all over, see?” Rock continued. “Men laying out, some wounded, some dead.”

“Go ‘head,” the first patron insisted, tired of his slow progress in the story.

“We couldn’t stop. We had to leave the wounded,” Rock said.

“Why?” the other patron asked.

“There was gunfire and shells all over our heads,” Rock said. “We couldn’t stop advancing until we got to a position to take the enemy out.”

“And what happened then?” the first patron asked.

“Two white soldiers and me, we saw a shell hole and made a run for it,” he replied.

“Yeah, uh huh,” the other patron said, hanging on to Rock’s every word.

“I managed to dive in,” Rock said.

“Yeah?” the other patron said.

“They fell in after me,” Rock added. “They was hit, both of them.”

“And,” the first patron egged on.

“I bandaged their wounds and got them stable,” Rock said. “One guy lost his life. The other lost just his hand. Then I advanced forward. I had to leave them and take out the enemy.”

“Did you take them out?” the other patron asked.

“Hell yeah, I took them out,” Rock boasted. “We pushed them damn Germans back. We beat they asses. They gave us medals and welcomed us back to D.C. Colored soldiers, a colored platoon did that.”

“Damn, you the man,” the first patron commented. “You the damn man. Barkeep, get this soldier another drink!”

As more patrons entered the joint, they gathered around to hear Rock retell his story many times that night, each retell embellished a little bit more with exaggerated details. Rock didn’t see any harm in it. He was a hero in their eyes, no doubt.

 

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Rock.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 12

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Grandpa’s Courtship

Here is a painting on the theme of romance for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  My paintings are reflective of the stories in my Trouble Down South and Other Storiesshort story collection and my novel Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

“Courting” was a term I had heard many times while growing up.  It was my grandparents’ old-fashioned term for dating.  And a lot went into a date or courtship back in the day.  Horace, the main character in my short story, learns this lesson the hard way when Miss Margaret confronts him on their dating status in “Grandpa’s Courtship (A Short Story.)”   This painting was inspired by my short story “Grandpa’s Courtship (A Short Story.)”

 

Excerpt

It was early on a Saturday morning, and Horace, Jason, and Buddy were working in the corn fields. It was late spring, and they were planting the season’s corn crop. A mule led the plow, which Horace navigated, making furrows. His grandson Buddy came behind him, dropping corn in the furrows, and Horace’s hired farmhand Jason would follow, covering the corn, all of them continuing this process for the next row and the next and the next until a huge field of corn was laid, time-consuming work that would make Horace consider giving up the trade every season when he’d think about how much work it would take to plant a field of corn.

They had just finished setting a row of corn, trying to finish by mid-morning, and were heading toward the other end of the row near the road that led to the local colored Baptist church when they saw a stout figure, distorted by jagged rays of sunlight, heading toward them. They stopped abruptly, wondering who it was, a hand waving in the air, the figure talking to the wind as it barreled down the corn row, a fireball of dust trailing behind it. As the figure got closer, Horace recognized it. It was Miss Margaret, and she was fired up mad.

“Horace Johnson!” she yelled. “If I ain’t never seen a man so hard-nosed set in his stubborn-as-a-mule and mean-as-an-ass ways, I would never in my lifetime see it!”

Jason and Buddy were stunned at first, but they knew why Miss Margaret laid into Horace. Horace had no warning, so he couldn’t get away before he was barraged by verbal assaults from the irritated colored woman.

“You are the stubbornest, orneriest, crankiest, belligerent, ill-tempered, crabbiest, cantankerousest, grouchiest, old negro—,” Miss Margaret added before being cut off.

“Miss Margaret…now… Miss Margaret, I ain’t gone be no more of your negroes,” Horace interjected.

“Loud-mouthed, quarrelsome, grumpy, tetchy, surly…,” she continued.

“Now, Miss Margaret, you better tell me what’s got your panties in a pinch,” Horace said sternly.

Jason and Buddy burst out laughing, which only angered the irate woman.

“You dirty, old letch!” Miss Margaret yelled. “How dare you use such devilish, sinful, vile, despicable, wicked language with me?”

And as quickly as Miss Margaret came down the corn row, she turned on her heels and left in a blur, leaving Horace speechless. Jason and Buddy bawled over in laughter.

“What y’all laughing at?” Horace said irritably, watching as Miss Margaret made her way angrily down the corn row, her floral print dress swaying from side to side in unison with the determined stride of her hefty hips.

“You!” Jason retorted, letting out a deep guffaw.

“Hush up, you fools!” Horace yelled. “Get back to work!”

Jason nudged Buddy in the side, both of them still overcome with laughter.

“I said, get back to work!” Horace repeated angrily, slapping the mule on the hind parts and shouting, “Gitty up! You stubborn ass!”

Jason and Buddy burst into another fit of laughter, annoying Horace even more.

“I don’t know what the hell you two find so damn hilarious,” Horace snapped.

“Now, Horace,” Jason said, trying to hold back a snicker. “You know good and well what that was all about.”

“I don’t know what you talking ‘bout,” Horace said, turning his back to Jason.

“Oh, you don’t, huh?” Jason mocked. “You know Miss Margaret been waiting for you to ask her to that church picnic all month long. And you stood around and acted like you didn’t have no idea. The picnic is this afternoon, and I think she’s trying to give you a hint. A big hint.”

Horace paused, blinking his eyes and frowning, turning to Jason and asking, “You serious?”

“You mean you didn’t know?” Jason asked, surprised by Horace’s reaction.

“No,” Horace replied.

“She been telling my wife about it all month. I guess that was my cue to tell you about it,” Jason said, now realizing how angry Miss Margaret must have been.

Buddy said softly, “She mentioned it to me, but she never said to tell you anything, Grandpa.”

Horace, irritated and needing someone to blame, snapped at Buddy, “Boy, why didn’t you tell me?”

“Don’t blame the boy,” Jason said, defending Buddy. “You know she been sweet on you, and you been acting like you can’t see it. Everybody in the whole county could see how she feel about you. But you. And this picnic was your chance to make your move.”

Trying to regain his composure, Horace paused and then said, “How the hell that woman think I can read minds? She act like I’m supposed to know that’s what she wanted. A woman gotta tell a man something. Women can’t expect us to know what they want, when they want it, and how they want it.”

Jason and Buddy stood quietly as Horace went on his own tirade, slapping the mule again on the hind parts.

“And another thing,” Horace added, “she can’t just come up to a man and fuss him out like he ain’t nothing….”

Jason and Buddy followed behind Horace, snickering under their breaths.

Horace continued, “…talking to him any kind of way and expecting him to know what she all up in a tether about. Womenfolk. They so confused. And they trying to confuse everybody else.”

“Horace, you know what you gotta do,” Jason said, still smirking.

“Humph,” Horace grunted and continued down the corn row, slapping the mule again on the hind parts to make it move.

***

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Grandpa’s Courtship.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 11

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A Hard-working Man

Here is a painting on the theme of work for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  My paintings are reflective of the stories in my Trouble Down South and Other Storiesshort story collection and my novel Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

This painting was inspired by my short story “Grandpa’s Courtship (A Short Story).”

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “A Hard-working Man.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 10

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The Feisty Rubeline

Here is another painting on the theme of slavery for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  My paintings are reflective of the stories in my Trouble Down South and Other Stories short story collection and my novel Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

This is a painting of the feisty Rubeline, a slave who retaliates against the horrible treatment by her slave master’s mother.  The painting was inspired by my short story “Missus Buck–Part Two (A Short Story)” in which slaves are subjected to treacherous treatment at the hands of their master’s mother.  She wreaks havoc on the slaves, forcing the feisty slave Rubeline to take action in her own way.  Here is an excerpt from  “Missus Buck–Part Two (A Short Story).

 

Excerpt

 

Missus Buck had awakened earlier that morning and requested that Rubeline make her a tray of poached eggs, toast, and coffee and serve it to her in bed. Rubeline did as she was directed, but not with pleasure.

Standing outside the guest room holding the tray of food, Rubeline inhaled deeply and then let out a long sigh, “Lawd, if dat woman bend muh nerve dis mornin’…,” and then she knocked and entered the room.

“Set it over there and hand me my brush!” Missus Buck commanded.

Rubeline paused and before she had time to think about her words, she blurted out, “I ain’t yo’ servant!”

“What’d you say to me, nigger?” Missus Buck snapped.

Rubeline said nothing, now fearful that she may have sealed her fate to be sold once Massa Norris returned.

“You will serve me as long as I am staying in this house,” Missus Buck continued. “Now draw my bath and don’t make the water too hot.”

Rubeline moved with a rapidity that mimicked a hummingbird. She did not regret her words. She just forgot herself. Missus Buck had the tendency to bring out the worst in people, and she definitely knew how to bring it out in Rubeline.

“Ya spiteful old witch,” Rubeline mumbled under her breath.

“What’d you say?” Missus Buck snapped.

“I said I’d add some salts to yo’ water so ya won’t itch,” Rubeline replied in a normal voice.

“Fine,” Missus Buck grunted. “Don’t make it too hot, I said.”

Rubeline returned to the kitchen to finish fixing breakfast for Victor and Horatio. They ate some blueberry hoecakes with maple syrup drawn from the maple trees at the back of the plantation. When they finished eating, Rubeline inspected their tongues to see whose was bluest.

“I dink Horatio’s won dis time, Massa Victor,” Rubeline noted, holding Horatio’s mouth open and examining his tongue.

“No, mine is bluer,” Victor replied, holding his mouth open for Rubeline to compare to Horatio’s.

“Hum, ya jus’ might be right, Massa Victor,” Rubeline recanted.

Horatio and Victor giggled as they looked in each other’s mouths. Then they ran outside to play. Rubeline and Aunt Virginny began preparations for lunch. She sent Aunt Virginny out to the barn to tell Luther to fetch some wood for the fireplace so that she could make opossum stew. Missus Buck dressed and came downstairs and stood at the entrance to the kitchen.

“Send that butler boy into the parlor,” Missus Buck ordered and sauntered out of the kitchen.

“I’ll send ya sumptin’ alwight,” Rubeline mumbled. She walked to the back door and called out for the butler, “Luther! Luther! Come hither.” Luther appeared before her, dirty and sweaty from chopping wood. “Missus Buck r’quested ya in a parlor. Be careful wit’ dat wretched old woman.”

Luther nodded and headed inside. He returned shortly and told Rubeline that Missus Buck had requested a bottle of Cabernet from Massa Norris’s wine cellar.

“I don’t know how ta tell which da right boddle,” Luther told Rubeline. “I cain’t read.”

“I’ll go witcha,” Rubeline said and followed him out back to a shed built into the ground. They entered the dusty cavern and looked around for the specific wine Missus Buck had requested.

“Is dis it?” Luther asked.

“How would ya know? Ya said ya cain’t read,” Rubeline said.

“I know some ledders,” Luther told Rubeline. “Can you read?”

“I can read a bit, but ya bedder not tell a soul,” Rubeline warned. “Dar. Da one wit’ Merlot on it. Dus’ it off and take it to her.”

“But she said Cabernet,” Luther corrected.

“Ya want her ta know you can read? Give her a reason ta have ya sold off?” Rubeline cautioned.

“Oh, yeah,” Luther realized. He headed out of the cellar with the bottle of wine in his hands and walked into the parlor, standing before Missus Buck.

“Here’s ya is, Missus,” Luther said, holding out the bottle in front of her.

She examined it briefly, and in as sharp a tongue as a venomous viper, she snapped, “You damned fool! You think I’m stupid? That’s not a Cabernet. That’s a Merlot.”

“Uhm sorry, Missus,” Luther moaned.

“Go back and get the right one,” she ordered.

Luther turned and raced out of the room. Rubeline had heard Missus Buck’s cries from the kitchen and went with Luther once again to the cellar.

“What’re goin’ do now?” Luther asked. “If we bring da right one, she goin’ know we can read.”

“We’ll jus’ keep takin’ her da wrong one,” Rubeline responded.

Luther returned with a different bottle of wine, only to be met with Missus Buck’s brashness once again.

“If you don’t bring me the right bottle, I’m going to have you flogged,” she demanded.

Luther returned to the cellar more unnerved now than before.

“Here, take dis one. It’s Cabernet,” Rubeline said.

“I thought we were goin’ keep takin’ her da wrong one,” Luther moaned.

“If we do, ya’ll certainly git flogged, so lit’s see wat she goin’ do wit’ da right boddle,” Rubeline said, slightly concerned herself with Missus Buck’s unreasonable demands.

Luther went back once again, and this time Missus Buck was livid.

“How did you know this was Cabernet?” she asked angrily. “You can read, can’t you nigger?”

“Huh?” Luther uttered. “No’mam. I cain’t read. I…I jus’ picked up da first boddle I saw, Missus.”

“You’re lying,” she snapped.”

“No, Missus,” Luther replied. “Uhm tellin’ da twuth.”

“You’re calling me a liar?” Missus Buck asked haughtily.

“No’mam, I mos’ certainly ain’t, Missus,” Luther responded nervously.

“You are calling me a liar, aren’t you?” Missus Buck repeated accusingly.

Rubeline heard the accusation and entered the room in defense of Luther. “He cain’t read, Missus Brand’nburg. He cuddn’t figure out da right wine ta bring ya, so he jus’ picked one,” Rubeline said calmly.

“How do you know?” Missus Buck asked angrily.

“I went wit’ ‘em,” Rubeline replied.

“Well, I didn’t ask your opinion,” she snapped.

“I was only tryin’ ta help,” Rubeline said, trying to explain. “He don’t know how ta read, Missus. He cuddn’t figure out da right wine.”

“That’s a lie. He can read,” Missus Buck said sharply. “I want that boy whipped.”

“Missus, please,” Rubeline pleaded.

“Get the overseer,” Missus Buck ordered. “Now!”

 

***

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “The Feisty Rubeline.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 9

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Arsenic Poisoning

Here is another painting on the theme of slavery for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  My paintings are reflective of the stories in my Trouble Down South and Other Stories short story collection and my novel Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

This is a painting of an arsenic jar, containing a poison used in a dish that Rubeline, a slave, prepared for her horrid mistress.  The painting was inspired by my short story “Missus Buck–Part Two (A Short Story)” in which slaves are subjected to treacherous treatment at the hands of their master’s mother.  She wreaks havoc on the slaves, forcing the feisty slave Rubeline to take action in her own way.  Here is an excerpt from  “Missus Buck–Part Two (A Short Story).

Excerpt

For the last two weeks, Horatio helped out in the kitchen while Victor was preoccupied with learning to play the piano. Horatio was learning all aspects of cooking and cleaning from Rubeline and Aunt Virginny. He even learned some secrets of making elaborate dishes from the leanest cuts of meats, those fitting for the refined taste of Missus Buck. Horatio missed Victor, but only for brief moments. He was learning so much from Rubeline that before he knew it, the time seemed to just fly by. In the evenings, he was entertained by Rubeline and Aunt Virginny who filled his head with wild stories of ghouls and goblins, rendering Horatio practically an insomniac, his refusing to go to sleep for hours for fear of being snatched up and taken away by ghastly demons in the night.

Rubeline took a box of arsenic from the kitchen cabinet used to kill rats under the front porch and in the barns out back of the house. She placed the box on the counter. It had a prominent image of a skeleton’s head with crossbones on it. The rats had become a great nuisance the previous year, ruining much of the grain stored in the bins and the sweet potatoes and white potatoes kept in baskets under the barn shelter. The pesky critters ransacked much of the food products needed to prepare meals for the Massa’s table and for the slaves in the fields, and Rubeline did what needed to be done to rid them of the violators. Horatio watched intently one day as Rubeline mixed the contents with water and sugar and poured it strategically around the base of the house. She warned Horatio to never touch the box, for the contents could cause immediate death.

Aunt Virginny headed out back to bring in a basket of potatoes to prepare to peel. Horatio noticed the box with the skull and crossbones and figured Rubeline was preparing to kill more rodents, but Rubeline never mixed the contents with water and sugar as she had done before.

Rubeline set Horatio down at the kitchen table to help snap some peas and shell a basket of butter beans, something he thoroughly enjoyed. Aunt Virginny returned to the kitchen, washed two batches of potatoes, and began to peel them. Rubeline cut up the opossum into small sections and placed them in a cast-iron skillet hung on a metal nail over the fireplace. She poured enough water into the pot to cover the meat sections and slid the lid over the top and let it simmer over the fireplace. Horatio was becoming a good helper for Aunt Virginny and Rubeliine who took him under their wings, especially shielding him from the brashness of Missus Buck.

As the day wore on, Rubeline finished preparing all the vegetables for the stew and in a separate pot let them simmer over the fireplace. It wouldn’t take as long for them to cook and be added to the opossum stew. By one that afternoon, the food was almost ready to serve. Missus Buck had requested that she and Victor be served in the parlor near the piano so as not to interrupt Victor’s lessons.

When the stew was ready, Rubeline sent Aunt Virginny down to the lunch yard with a pot of stew to feed the field hands and told Horatio to go with her and help. Horatio wanted to see Victor play the piano and decided to stay with Rubeline who had not seen him standing at the back kitchen door watching as she prepared two trays for opossum stew, potatoes, and cornbread. She set the trays down and reached for the box with the skull and crossbones on it. Rubeline scooped a small spoonful into one of the bowls of stew and set the box on top of the cabinet. Horatio knew what the contents of that box could do. He knew it killed the rats, many of the rats that ran around the barns and under the house. He wondered why Rubeline would put it in the stew. Rubeline, unaware that Horatio had seen her, picked up the trays of food and headed for the parlor, Horatio following behind unnoticed.

Rubeline entered the parlor and set the tray meant of Victor on a small table designed especially for him. Then she placed the tray for Missus Buck who was seated on the sofa on the coffee table in front of her. She made sure the bowl with the spoonful of the arsenic was set in front of Missus Buck.

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Arsenic Poisoning.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 8

IMG_3631

Boy Enslaved

Here is another painting on the theme of slavery for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  My paintings are reflective of the stories in my Trouble Down South and Other Stories short story collection and my novel Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

This is a painting of an African-American boy in chains.  The painting was inspired by my short story “Slave Auction–Part One (A Short Story)” in which a woman and her children are sold separately on a slave auction block.  Here is an excerpt from “Slave Auction–Part One (A Short Story).”

Excerpt

Horatio had caught the attention of several bidders as he stood naked on the auction block. When the bidding began, Clareene tore away from the purchased group of Negroes and pushed her way to the front of the group of buyers, pleading with her new master to purchase her only son. With a look of remonstrance and entreaty, she clung to his ankles, beseeching him in as pitiable a voice as a sinner bargaining with the devil to reconsider and spare her child from a fate worse than death. He looked down at her, perfectly passionless and embittered by her supplication, and struck her across the back of her head with such violent force that she momentarily lost her ability to speak. Then he kicked her in the ribs, knocking her to the side, her body wincing in pain, and then with all the energy she could muster, she crept agonizingly away from him.

She exclaimed, “Oh Lawd, save muh baby,” reaching upwards toward the auction block to touch her child one last time.

But before she could touch Horatio, another gentleman with a grim businesslike demeanor who had won the bid for her child snatched Horatio down from the block and shoved him over to his group of procured and waiting chattel, shocking the child and inciting him into inconsolable tears. Clareene fell to the ground once again, sobbing incessantly. The rough man pulled her up, unconcerned with the pain he had just inflicted on her, and shoved her back over toward his group of purchased Negroes. She was unable to console herself. This was one of Horatio’s earliest recollections of the bitterness and brutality of the sale of human chattel. He was in his fourth year and was forced to part from his mother, forever.

In the moments following the auction, Horatio was led away with the other newly-bought Negroes. This moment was the loneliest he had ever felt in his life. Then, suddenly he remembered the instructions of his mother, to turn to God for strength. He closed his eyes tightly and imagined talking directly with Him, asking Him to assuage the pain he was feeling deep inside. His mother had further instructed him to tell God of all his trials and afflictions, and whatever He told him to do, he was to obey.

He asked Him, “Is dis right, Oh Gawd? Is it right fo’ me ta be taken fum muh mama?”

His mother would tell him that when he asked God for an answer, to wait, and it would be revealed to him. After a few minutes, he did not receive an answer. Then he wondered how long he must wait.

After the auction ended and the bills of sale were written, the exodus of newly purchased Negroes, bound in shackles and carrying only bundles of modest clothing provided them by their new masters, marched to the other end of the street to the awaiting steamboats to transport them to their new, unknown destinations.

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Boy Enslaved.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 7

 

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Woman Enslaved

I have shifted gears and am now working with the theme of slavery for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  My paintings are reflective of the stories in my Trouble Down South and Other Stories short story collection and my novel Bootlegger Haze (Books One and Two).

This is a painting of an African-American woman in chains.  The painting was inspired by my short story “Slave Auction–Part One (A Short Story)” in which a woman and her children are sold separately on a slave auction block.  Here is an excerpt from “Slave Auction–Part One (A Short Story).”

Excerpt

Clareene was Chattel Number 13 in the catalogue, and Horatio, Number 14. When it was time to be examined, they were stripped of their modest clothing down to their bare skin. They were washed in greasy water so that their bronzed skin would glisten in the mid-morning sunlight, making them look sleek and healthy and fit. The cruel, sadistic face of the slaveholder examining them burned into their minds as he chained them together preparing to lead them to the block.

Moments later Chattel No. 13 and 14 from the catalogue were called to the block. Clareene was hauled out in chains first, then her son. She waited with baited breath, hoping they would be sold as a family. They were examined by another male slaveholder as the prospective buyers stood around them, inspecting all of the stock. They walked around Horatio and his mother, staring them up and down and looking for any signs of disfigurement or lameness, just as their master had done to the many horses and cattle he had purchased over the years.

The buyers examined the inside of their mouths and inspected their teeth. One prospective buyer felt Clareene’s breasts to determine how fit she’d be to breed more children, Clareene cringing from the humiliation of it all. They observed her limbs for signs of muscular fitness and checked every crack and crevice that could conceal hidden wounds and bruises, something that could surely deter a prospective buyer. They wanted healthy slaves. Bruises, scars, or wounds would indicate a sickly or lame product, something they did not want.

Clareene was bid off first and was made to stand with the other Negros previously purchased by their new owners. Then when her oldest child, her only son, was put on the auction block, she was paralyzed with grief. The buyers had assembled around the block, prepared to bid on her child. She fought back the tears, but she could not fathom having to part forever from her child. She could not bear to see her son reduced to such a fate. Lord only knows the fate some young child slaves face once torn from their mothers’ bosoms.

 

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Woman Enslaved.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 6

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Native American Chief

I am still working with the Native American theme for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  This is a painting of a Native American Chief.

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Native American Chief.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 5



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Native American Drum

I am still working with the Native American theme for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.  This is a painting of a Native American drum.

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Native American Drum.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 4

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Native American Knife Sheath

 

Native Americans relied heavily on knives for their survival.  Knife sheaths were often worn to carry their knives.  The sheaths would be elaborately decorated, either beaded, painted, or enhanced with feathers or studs.  Many Native Americans used designs specific to their tribes or reflective of the wearer.  Read more about Native American weaponry at Indians.org.

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Native American Knife Sheath.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 3

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Native American Tomahawk

 

Here is another painting on the theme of Native Americans.  Their use of the tomahawk was pivotal to their survival.  To make their tomahawks, Native Americans would use stones attached to hand-hewn wooden handles and held together with strips of rawhide.  Uses for the tomahawk would range from chopping to cutting to hunting.  In many cases the tomahawk would be used as a weapon.

The Native American Tomahawk painting was inspired by a poem I wrote titled “Revolt in the Cherokee Nation” that is included in my collection of short stories in Trouble Down South and Other Stories.  “Revolt in the Cherokee Nation” is a poem briefly chronicling the incident in which African-American slaves revolt against the Native-American slaveholders in the Cherokee Nation.

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Native American Tomahawk.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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Trouble Down South Art Challenge

Painting No. 2

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Native American Moccasin

I am still working with the Native American theme for my second painting in the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge.  I want to explore several aspects of Native American culture such as their clothing, footwear, food, and weaponry.  Above is a painting of a Native American moccasin.

The NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art website describes the moccasin in these terms:  “Even though moccasin construction techniques are similar among many tribes, the beaded or quilled decorations were often quite distinctive.  Woodland moccasins were often decorated, usually in floral or zoomorphic designs, on the instep or tongue portion, woodland  decoration did not usually cover the sides of the moccasin.  The flap or added cuff around the ankle was also often decorated, or worn upright and held in place by thongs wrapped around the ankle.  A separate beaded or quilled piece of velvet or leather was sometimes sewn on top of the cuff or tongue portion.  These decorated panels could be easily removed from the moccasins when the soles wore out, and sewn onto a new pair”  ( NativeTech: Native American Technology and Art ).

The Native American Moccasin painting was inspired by a poem I wrote titled “Revolt in the Cherokee Nation” that is included in my collection of short stories in Trouble Down South and Other Stories.  “Revolt in the Cherokee Nation” is a poem briefly chronicling the incident in which African-American slaves revolt against the Native-American slaveholders in the Cherokee Nation.

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Native American Moccasin.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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 Painting No. 1 of my Trouble Down South Art Challenge

 

Revolt in the Cherokee Nation–A Depiction

This is my first painting for the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge with Leslie Saeta.   It is my depiction of an incident in American history that is not so well known when Native Americans owned slaves.

During the 1830’s African-American slaves were held by five Indian tribes–Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminoles, Chickasaw, and Creek.  These tribes were initially located in the South and then forcibly relocated by the American government to (what is now) Oklahoma Territory.   Read more about Native Americans and slavery at this website–Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History& Culture.

This painting was inspired by a poem I wrote titled “Revolt in the Cherokee Nation” that is included in my collection of short stories in Trouble Down South and Other Stories.  “Revolt in the Cherokee Nation” is a poem briefly chronicling the incident in which African-American slaves revolt against the Native-American slaveholders in the Cherokee Nation.

Prints are available for purchase of the painting “Revolt in the Cherokee Nation–A Depiction.”   Prints are available in sizes 8 x 10, 11 x 14, and 16 x 20 inches (unframed).  Email Katrina Williams at stepartdesigns at hotmail dot com for prices.

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