Woodie Long grew up the eldest of twelve children to a family of migrant workers and share-croppers. The family moved often to follow the work, something Long continued into his early career as a house painter. He never attended public schools while growing up but achieved his diploma through night classes in his adulthood. Long discovered a new kind of painting when his third wife, Dot, took a local art class and he encountered her supplies around their home. His family had been encouraging him to write down his life’s story and Long wanted to share his tale with his children, but writing seemed a daunting task and this new-found talent for painting changed that. Using paints, Long documented his life and the world around him. Painting is what Long knew best and when encouraged by his family, he painted prolifically; eventually he created over 20,000 works.
Woodie Long was a happy man as a house painter, and when his health forced him to quit his house painting business he found solace in his newly discovered artistic talent. Long’s paintings show a sure hand and figures are often one strong stroke of color. His paintings are alive with the life he loved, portraying the world as he knew it. Long painted simple merry acts such as singing, musicians, dancing, being with friends, flying kites; even plowing the fields was a moment of movement and color.