The Austin Statesman tells the story:
“It takes nerve to do what I do, but I have a real desire to paint. The desire takes over the fear. It’s just who I am,” she says.
Martin, 57, left the studio to pursue documenting what she sees as the diminishing culture of coffeehouses by painting the people who sit with earphones in, head buried in a laptop. Many are alone. Doing homework, reading a book, deep in thought but, sadly, not talking to anyone. She stares a lot, trying to get a read of what’s inside — to catch them in their best light, she says — and give them character in oil portraits on 9-by-12-inch canvases. She paints quickly, usually without her subjects knowing it.
“I do guerrilla painting,” she says. First she traces under the table, and when she gets enough nerve, she begins painting with the small portable kit that has a small easel and canvas and a few select paints and brushes that she carries in a crate on the back of her Bianchi bicycle. Her paintings take between two and 30 minutes.
She posts the unique portraits and her observations about them on her popular I Stare at People blog (http://lavanna.com).
Artist Devoted to Guerrilla “Coffee Shop” Portraits (The Statesman)