If the walls of her first home had not been empty, Doreen Davidson might not have found the impetus to pick up a brush and start to paint landscapes in oils nearly 40 years ago.
"I only had so much money to decorate my home," she said.
Yet Davidson, a retired cosmetologist, exudes energy.
An illustration: When her instructor at Gila Community College advised her that drawing was a good thing, she told him, "Drawing takes too much time, I have a life to live."
"And I live mine a lot," she added.
A playful spirit keeps her young.
"I love Payson," she said. "I feel like my whole life prepared me for coming here. I made good friends very fast. The community is so welcoming and if you get out there and meet people you will find there is lots to do."
When she is not in her studio painting the landscapes she loves, she enjoys dancing, gardening, traveling and being with her children and grandchildren.
Then, the colors of a sunrise or sunset capture her eye and she tells herself, this is a good day to paint.
"This is the day to live your life," he said with a grin.
"It was good advice when I gave it to my hair clients and it's good advice now."
She describes herself as both a "fast" and a "free" painter, inspired the impressionistic work of Monet and Renoir.
Oil paints are her chosen medium.
"I tried watercolors once," she said, then leans forward. Her voice drops a tad and her hands mimic the motion of painting. "But I missed the smell of the oil paints and the soft tap tap tap of the brush. Isn't that funny?"
Maybe it was the 43 years of cosmetology chemicals.
She started painting in her early 20s then stopped to raise a family.
Her 14-year-old grandson requested an elephant when she took up the palette again three years ago.
Davidson was glad to oblige him. She has four grandchildren, and another on the way but the other two are not yet old enough to request pictures, but their turns are coming.
"When they are little old people and I am long gone I want them to have a painting I've painted hanging in their homes," she said.
When Davidson moved to Arizona she decided to paint to supplement her retirement income. Last year she sold 10 paintings.
"It's a nice hobby," she said.
Davidson is one of the 30 artists who will be at the Payson Art League's (PAL) annual Fall Fine Art and Fine Craft Show & Sale Nov. 3, 4 and 5 in the Tonto Apache Activity Center on Highway 87 at the Mazatzal Casino just south of Payson.
"The Payson Art League is a great group of people to work with," she said. This is Davidson's third show.
"It's going to be fun!" she said.
Name: Doreen Davidson
Medium: oil paints
Motto: I just try to decide what would a little old lady named Doreen like to do next? Dance? Travel? Play with grandchildren? Paint? What haven't I experienced?
Awards: A third place ribbon at the California Midstate Fair and an honorable mention at the 2005 Payson Art League Show.
Advice to new artists: Go easy on yourself and enjoy the time creating.
Painting is: A peaceful way of expressing myself.
Why Studio 309? I named my home studio with my house number -- the house can be hard to find.
Point of contact: (928) 468-7707.