“We played Off to California and the Arkansas Traveler; Elzic’s Farewell and Ragtime Annie, the notes like bright sparks from a fire swirling upward into the dark sky, set the stars dancing. Suddenly my mind was filled with vivid images from an earlier time that touched my soul. These are the paintings drawn from that inspiration.”

~ Paula McHugh

Paula McHugh

Inspired by the Titles of Fiddle Tunes and Folk Songs


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Paula McHugh, painter and musician, has created a series of oil, egg tempera, and watercolor paintings inspired by the titles of American fiddle tunes and folk songs. Traditional American music played on the fiddle, banjo, guitar, and dulcimer is a lively and informal music that is learned by ear and that has been passed down faithfully through the generations. It weaves together the musical legacy of immigrants from Europe and the slaves from Africa. Like the Regionalist Movement artists of the 1930s, Thomas Hart Benton, John Steuart Curry, and Grant Wood, Paula McHugh conjures up iconic American images from the past using the musical titles as her muse.

Buffalo Gals won't you come out tonight

and dance by the light of the moon.