#24 Vivi's 2005 Toyota Matrix

September 2016

I like this car better from close up than far away, but it's lots of fun from any distance. I love the colors and the twisted-sponge effect. And yep: it rained a lot while I was painting it!

#25 Tracy's 2001 Miata

November 2016

Here's a sort of minimalist paint job for a minimalist car. I liked having just a few bubbles scattered around the turtles. When Tracy drove this away and I got to see it that far away, I found myself impatient to see it on the road sometime. It'll be mind-blowing!

#23 Linda's 2005 Honda CRV

October 2013

This was one of the most fun cars to paint. I love the "Life is good" motif – the typeface and the flowers – so it was fun putting them on the back of the car.

I also mimicked the blanket flower from Linda's license plate, at her request, of course. There's not much to say – just look, and enjoy!

#22 Susan's 2001 Ford Ranger

February 2013

This was a scary car for me just because it was white. I had such a hard time envisioning the sun / moon / stars motif with a white background, yet painting the whole truck first seemed too daunting.

Susan's Ranger is the vehicle I've planned the most. I'd be lying around in bed at night or in the morning, frowning, painting in my head. By the time I finally got out there with some sponges, I pretty much knew what I was going to do.

And now you do, too!

#21 Mike's 2000 Pontiac SunFire, the Red Haring

The hood

The roof

November 2012

I like to have photos of the cars with their people, but they're not always so very color-coordinated as this one, taken by Mike's brother Rob.

Mike's my best friend, a mild-mannered accountant by day and, um, a mild-mannered accountant by night. Still, it really bothered me that for years he refused to let me paint his car. And then in the glorious year of 2012, he suddenly said yes.

Years ago, a guy named Dean told me my car reminded him of Keith Haring. Who? I'd never heard of the fellow. Well, Dean lent me his book and I found a photo of Haring's car online. I think ever since I saw that, I've been wanting to paint such a thing. I watched the movie of Haring on Netflix and am so glad I got to find out about him.

This is the only car I've painted (so far) using only one color and one shape: a one-inch square. At the very end of the job, I realized I could have been just dragging the sponge to spread the paint. Instead, I pounced it thousands and thousands of time. In this case of basic line drawings, the texture really isn't needed. In fact, it almost takes away from the thing.

But no matter. This is my favorite car so far.

And for Christmas, Mike's brother-in-law Terry got him an aluminum water bottle and asked me to paint it to match the car. Just how exactly cool is that?

# 20 Colleen's Taco Lady Chevy Step-Van

This thunderbird's on the hood.

September 2012

I'm afraid Mister Google makes it too hard to put these photos in the order I want, so you'll have to work harder than you should.

Colleen, the Taco Lady at the Saturday Morning Market in St. Petersburg, FL, saw my car driving down the street one day, and decided that's what she had to do with her step-van. And what a thrill it was! For one thing, it's huge. For another, there were so many pieces of it I just loved: the skirt with the lace border, that Tree of Life, the water lapping up to it, those Mexican flags – like Tibetan Prayer Flags but not – and more.

This was a lot of work and even more fun. One of the best things about painting cars for other people is that I'm led to discover things outside of my normal world.

I don't usually like both sides to match, but I did put the same Mexican blanket design on the passenger doors. It was just too perfect a configuration to ignore.