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Eva Ave's Art Blog

The Lucky $12 Horse Painting

The Lucky $12 Horse Painting


Art has so many functions, so I’ve decided to write a collection of stories on my blog remembering all the times art saved me, served me or undid me.

I’m a survivor. When I’m stuck, there’s always been a way out. Here’s a story about how drawing a girl’s dead horse got me back home.

I used to have no money, but did I let that stop me from traveling to NYC all the time? Hell no.

This particular time in 2005, I’d used student loans to fly myself and my best friend Stacey out see Tim Hawkinson’s retrospective at the Whitney Museum. We stayed with a family in Queens I knew from Quaker meeting.

So one morning, a few art supplies in tow, we walked across the Queensborough Bridge to seize the day. I don’t remember if we really had no metro money at all or had left our wallets at the apartment, but at the end of the day we were sitting in a Starbucks waiting out a torrential rainstorm; each raindrop was a bucket of water - it was insane. Our only way back was to walk across the Queensborough Bridge. We sat there for two hours, and in a few minutes it’d be midnight, and then it would be 12:30 when the coffeeshop closed, and we’d definitely be walking home in soaked shoes and clothes for at least two hours.

I was drawing with pen and filling in white space with watercolor at a counter against a window. Stacey to my right. Empty chair to my left. A young woman comes in from the rain. She sits down. I’m friendly, etc. “Can you paint horses?” she asks, pulling out a picture of her old horse from her wallet. “Yes, I used to draw horses ALL THE TIME!” I say. “And I live in New Mexico. But we have no money to get back to Queens, and I really don’t want to walk for hours in the storm. I’ll take any amount you have, and if you trust me, I’ll make the painting back in Albuquerque and mail it to you. I’ll send you back your photo too, of course.”

She had $12.

I took it. Stacey and I made it home that night on the subway. The rain never let up until the next day.

It took me a few months to mail the painting to her. Didn’t have her phone number, just her address. In the package I provided my email and phone number, asking her to reach out when the horse painting arrives. Never heard from her. I’ll never know if she got it. But she was my $12 rain angel that night.

And that’s the power of art.

I don’t have any $12 horse paintings anymore, but if you want to commission or ask about what I have available, email me at studio@evaavenue.com

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