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Folk artist Woodie Long passed away on October 12th, 2009. His 67th birthday would
have been October 19th.
When Woodie first started on his creative path in 1987, he was already 45 and had
only painted houses, literally, the outside of houses. He was completely self-taught.
Woodie's wife, Dot, was the artist in the family. One day, while Dot was out of
the house, Woodie decided to start painting and had completed three works by the
time Dot got home. His method was such that he could complete works with amazing
speed. This contributed greatly to his style. His work conveys a sense of urgency
without appearing sloppy or crudely done. Woodie was able to convey a kind of organization
that sprang from chaos. But if you asked Woodie, he just painted.
Dot thought that Woodie's first paintings were pretty good, so she showed them to
her art professor who wanted to buy them for $30 apiece. Woodie kept them.
A few weeks later Woodie sold 36 paintings at his very first show, making nearly
$2,000. Over a decade later, Woodie's art was hanging in several museums across
the country and by this time Woodie had created well over 1,000 paintings. Woodie's
work has appeared on the covers of nearly 40 publications and even his small, simple
paintings sell for hundreds of dollars.
Woodie was born in Plant City, Florida and had 11 brothers and sisters. Their father
was a sharecropper who did not believe in school, so Woodie could not read or write
"I'm nothin'," he said. "I'm just a housepainter. The good Lord touched my hands
and made me an overnight success.
"That's why they're goin' to put me in jail. For impersonating an artist. But they
ain't done it yet."
Woodie certainly was one of a kind. He will be missed.