Lock Down and A Painting of Taylor Rose

Hi y’all. You haven’t heard from me for a while because I just came off a long 26 day Lockdown – yeah, that’s how soft I’ve become; complaining about 26 days. Hell, if you’ve read my book “Where No One Hears Me” (shameless plug) you know that I give a REAL TIME account in that book about being locked down for a year once at USP Florence – yeah, here I am crying about 26 days, lol. Anyway I’m ok.


A few years back when I was a FCI Pollock one of my friends came up to me and asked me if I’d paint a picture of his girl. For the record, when ever someone asks me to paint a portrait for ’em, I ALWAYS say no first, then I look at the picture they want painted to see if I actually want to paint it; generally it stays, no, because I absolutely hate painting portraits. Why? Because in most cases the picture they want painted is of a poor quality, for painting, more like a school picture than a piece of art. For an artist a picture without shadows and light is almost impossible to paint … I mean, a painting looks flat, like a photograph, if it doesn’t have good shadows. So, if I decide to paint a picture I almost always have to CREATE shadows, and any artist will tell you this is a failed, difficult thing to do, and I want to do good work. If I ain’t satisfied with it, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks … plus, at the present rate I turn out completed paintings, I will only ever paint 500 or so painting!! Yeah, in my whole life, 500! and the first 100 of those were a learning process, so I don’t want to waste time painting something that has no value and truthfully, portraits, generally have no value outside of the person you painted – whether you know it or not, my painting are valuable, so I am very careful what I do with ’em, and even more careful about painting portraits.

There are exceptions though. For instance a couple years back one of the guys here at 3rvs asked me how much I’d charge to paint a portrait of his daughter; I said no, then I looked at the picture he wanted painted, and when I saw it, I knew it would be a beautiful painting, not just a portrait, but a stand alone painting. So I told him that I would paint the picture for FREE, I never charge for a work of love, under the condition that he let me paint TWO pictures of his daughter, one for him and one for my collection at home, he agreed and I painted her, his daughter, twice (FYI, her name was Taylor, but not to be confused with the Taylor Rose of this story. I tell you this because I HOPE that someday my son Marco will photograph my work and put it out there for you to see and then you can see for yourself this painting of little Taylor). So, I will paint portraits ever now and then if it suits me, or sometimes for people who help me promoting my books etc. Back to the story.

So, my buddy walks up to me at FCI Pollock and asks me if I’d paint a portrait of his girl – expecting a terrible picture I said, NO – then he handed me this picture of his girl in the SHOWER! Yeah, in the shower, wearing nothing but her birthday suit! I looked at the picture and knew instantly that I wanted to paint it … what. NO! Well … not entirely because she was naked!!! It was a nice picture with good shadowing … whatever dude.

My friend thanks me for agreeing to paint his girl, then tell me that she has since gotten a tattoo on her left shoulder, and she wants to know if I can add that tattoo to the painting of her in the shower, then he hands me another picture of her looking over her left shoulder showing her face and new tattoo … yeah, she had her clothes on! Damn, y’all are worse than I am 😉 Anyway, I took both photos and combined them and made one very nice painting of her in the shower with her new tattoo. For the record, Taylor Rose sent me a photograph of the painting I did of her with a message telling me that I could show the photograph of her painting, to promote my work … I lost the photograph before I could get it posted for you to see.

A few months after I finished that painting of Taylor Rose, I had a visit from either my daughter or my niece Mayra, can’t remember which one, but, it was from somebody who loves me, lol, and visited me.

At all prison Visitation Rooms they have Vending machines that family members can use while visiting, at FCI Pollock we, the prisoners, were allowed to go with our family while they made their purchases from the machines, something they don’t allow here. So, as my visitor was looking at the vending machine selections, I was looking at the backside of this broad who’s also their looking at the machines… WHAT … I know… I’m a dog. Anyway, when she turned around to leave, I recognized her face, but I couldn’t quite place where I knew her from … she was definitely too young to have been someone I knew before I was locked up … but I knew that face, from somewhere.

Shortly thereafter when I was seated again her visitor comes in, gives her a kiss, sees me and waves hello from across the room. Then he leans over to her and says something while pointing at me, yep, you guessed it, she was the girl in the shower … and he was telling her that I was the guy who painted her picture. She looked me straight in the eye, blushes a little, then gave me this nice pretty smile. Yes sir re man, she was a bold woman, I like that quality in a female … NO, I ain’t tryin’ to insinuate that I like shy men! What the hell’s wrong with you guys! I’m straight as an arrow!!

So why am I telling you this story now? Well, one of the very few things a man has to do on lockdown is to go through all his very few possessions, and one of the things I went through was my photo album, and low and behold, hidden away behind another one of my pictures was the photograph that Miss Rose sent to me. So, I sent this photo off to Miss Lynn in England and asked her to post it for y’all to see. So if you want to see this painting, out of artistic curiosity, of course, you can do so on my Face Book account.

Here’s to you Taylor Rose – hope you enjoyed the painting and appreciate just how much time I spent studying that photo … what, I had to look at it, a lot, so I could paint it! Just ask any painter, and if he’s a guy, he’ll confirm that. Anyway, I will add here, when she sent me the photo of the painting she also gave me permission to show it as part of my portfolio.

Peace be with you each and all … may the New Year bring you comfortable shoes … trust me, it’s better to walk the Path of Life in something comfortable. Mark

Three Rivers, 1-28-20