The first Pearl was painted in the summer of 2008. She was based on a yellow-haired woman I drew in my sketchbook while visiting London. I'd been visiting art museums and was so inspired I bought a starter kit of acrylics. So this was my third or fourth painting. Pearl has changed a lot over the years but still wears pearls, has closed eyes—one larger than the other—and a long, skinny neck that miraculously supports a large head and red tresses. This painting hangs in my studio reminding me to be happy and to paint from the imagination.