#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.

#19 Carol's 2009 HHR

August 2012

Carol only wanted parts of the car painted – not the whole thing. That made me nervous, but I did it, and it came out pretty good, wouldn't you say?

I'd never heard of Ed Hardy till Carol told me about him. I patterned my roses after his.

After a couple of months, we added French bulldogs to this beautiful blue car.

#18 Melissa's 1998 Buick LeSabre

The beginning of the frog pond on the roof.

Melissa's little boy Benny knew right away that these were frog eyes!

Water bug!

Yipes! Lettering scares me but THIS was an easy way to do it.

Here's the Miracle Sponge before I've put it in water.

October 2011

Melissa chose some colors, told me of her love and concern for frogs, and let me do whatever I wanted. Yay! She and her husband are both artists. It used to puzzle me why artists would want me to paint their cars – can't they paint their own? But when I see all the art I've collected, I get it.

Shreeram's Yamaha Virago

September 2011

This isn't a car, either, but I was thrilled to have something black to paint.

My biggest challenge here – besides the small surface – was that the owner wanted recognizable critters on it the motorcycle. Or maybe he assumed that since I'm an "artist," I could just, just do it. Not really. Still, I now know an anole when I see one.

Shreeram wanted them to be specifically Floridian, too, although he agreed to the cobra, for which I'm grateful. I really like that snake!

I like the above photo because it shows how very well I follow the line ...