Rock and Roll Music Merges with Fine Art
By Jackie Devereaux
CATHEDRAL CITY, CA – It’s another “Tequila Sunrise” for artist Cid Newsome. She’s a person who gets inspired by her favorite rock and roll songs to paint local downtown scenes matching the name.
“My favorite bands are the Beatles and the Eagles so songs like ‘Hotel California’ and ‘Long and Winding Road’ became subjects for my art,” Newsome said during a recent telephone interview.
Newsome has been listening to music and painting scenes from around the Coachella Valley since 1999. Her work has been exhibited in numerous restaurants such as Trios, Wang’s of the Desert and the Old Town Coffee Shop in La Quinta, as well as public buildings like City Hall in Cathedral City.
Newsome, 58, was born in Urbana, Illinois but like many children of her era, was raised as a military brat traveling to foreign lands and attending more schools than she can recall. Her father, Larry Higgins, was in the Navy but his professional career was as an architect. She recalled a pivotal moment in their family’s life when she was bitten by ants while in the jungles of Saipan and military doctors told her father that she couldn’t live there anymore. The family was transferred first to Hawaii, then to Bellevue, Washington where she graduated from high school, got married then later moved back to Hawaii where she lived for 16 years before relocating to the Desert in 1999.
Newsome learned a lot from her father who now lives in Ecuador with her mother selling art portraying villages and sites in that region of the world.
“When I was five or six years old, I would draw with my dad. He influenced my art and encouraged me in many ways,” she said. Newsome specializes in painting but is not limited to that medium. Early in her career she created stained-glass works, made jewelry and pottery until finally settling down to watercolor and oil painting as her main form of expression.
After Newsome moved to Cathedral City, her parents decided to join her in 2003, and it was all one big happy family living under the same roof. This is when she and her father began to paint iconic scenes of the Coachella Valley.
“We noticed no one was doing it, so we started our series. We would both paint the same scene back to back of each city,” she said, until her father returned to Hawaii in 2009 after the economy tanked.
Newsome’s paintings of public places from Palms Springs to Indio and from the mountains to the desert rim still adorn the walls at City Hall, as well as the IncredibleArtist.com gallery and numerous local art savvy restaurants like Cello’s Bistro in Cathedral City.
“Anyone can paint a desert scene but not a building. Because I’m architecturally-trained, I can do it.” Newsome likes Old Town La Quinta Park and painted scenes of it while sipping coffee at the Old Town Coffee Shop.
“There is this funky little hotel across from the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs that, I think, was the original Hotel California from the Eagles’ song. I started doing my local scenic paintings to rock and roll songs from there,” she said.
“I was listening to an Earth, Wind and Fire CD while driving into Palm Springs when the windmills came into view. It inspired some paintings of the sun blasting upon the desert around the windmills” she said.
Other paintings have names such as “California Dreaming,” “Moonshadow” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling.”
Newsome’s art first got noticed locally while at the IncredibleArtist.com gallery because of her beautiful renditions of many familiar public places. Rick Pantele’s gallery (now online as IncredibleArtist.com) put her art on the map.
“He helped me tremendously, and helped me get noticed by important people. They saw my work at his gallery and said, ‘Oh, we want your art at city hall.” Newsome exhibited five of her local iconic scenes there until the city finally purchased one for $650. It still hangs at city hall today.
To date she’s sold approximately 20 prints with prices ranging from $75 to $750 each.
“Art has always been a part of my life, in many forms. I love fine art, as well as painting murals. Another passion is rescuing animals. All through the years I have painted with my favorite medium being watercolor. I love the difficulty of it and the interaction and transparency of the paint as it blends with the paper.
“I also love to teach art and have enjoyed this new challenge, as well as pushing myself with painting styles and subjects.”