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Factory Worker to Mountain Slayer

I have original artwork hanging in the factory I used to work in. I left the factory in 2019 and now, just three years later, I have an original artwork hanging in the office of someone on the management team.

Here's the story and it is a good one :

My friend Sisilla and I met while working at the Nabisco factory in north Portland. She was hired on a few months ahead of me. Our lockers were nearby each other and we both worked graveyard so we bumped into each other almost daily.

We eventually became friends, and then we gradually became really good friends. When I had my first ever art show as the featured artist at a friend's coffee business, she showed up to support me. When my son went through cancer, she stayed connected to me. When my son recovering from cancer was the lead in a school play, she brought her son to see the performance.

She and I have walked each other through major life changes and life's disruptions.

I learned what a woman of integrity Sisilla is who also has one of the sharpest minds I know.

We remained close as I made the momentous decision to resign. Most work relationships dry up after you leave a workplace which is to be expected. But some continue on, and my friendship with Sisilla has not only continued, it has deepened.

Sisilla, being educated and credentialed, applied for a job on the management team and left the production floor a few years ago. Last summer she earned a pretty sweet promotion.

"You're gonna have your own office now? With your name on the door?" I asked.

Yep. She sure was.

I asked Sisilla if I could make and gift her an artwork for her new office. She likes my art and has collected a few pieces for her home.

"Would you do a landscape for me?" she asked.

She sent me photos from her adventures being outdoors. Sisilla is an avid nature lover. She likes to hike...UPHILL...which is why we don't go on hikes together because I like to BREATHE.

There were no explanations offered for the photos from her various outdoor experiences. I looked at all the photos over and over and then narrowed it down to one that kept pulling me back.

I decided to make her a good sized painting which makes this my largest landscape to date.

Sisilla is Native American. I played Native drumming music as I made her painting. Sisilla told me

Black Lodge Singers are her favorite drumming group.

I like to lean into the energy of the person I am painting for when I make intentional art for a specific person. It is very meaningful for me to enter the intuitive flow of art making. This makes the art most likely to being even more meaningful for the receiver.

Sisilla told me that the photo I chose is from a hike she did with co-workers to McNeil Point up on Wy'East, also known as Mount Hood. Some of those co-workers have since come to her office to view the painting and together they remember their shared experience of that day. It is such a Feel Good feeling that I unknowingly selected a photo that has meaning for her and her co-workers.


Sisilla and I started off as factory workers wearing blue uniforms. It is so satisfying to think that my artwork is hanging in her office, the two of us former production workers who are each moving forward in the unfolding of our paths. I love the idea of former bosses and coworkers seeing my art hung with pride and love in her office, she who has achieved new stature in her career through her focus and dedicated work ethic and me with my flourishing creative entrepreneurship.

Congratulations again my friend for your promotion. I love how self-determining you are and how you have inspired me to stay the course even when at times my art path has been hard and discouraging. I am so fucking grateful for you !

Here is a short video I made of varnishing the artwork which I have titled, Mountain View. I added in music from the Native drumming group, Black Lodge.


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