Bulger's Beat: Country music star's art impresses Disney - WSMV News 4

Bulger's Beat: Country music star's art impresses Disney

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The town of Portland, TN, may be best known for its strawberries, but country music star Ronnie McDowell is a home-grown product too.

The microphone made McDowell famous, but the paintbrush has always been a loyal partner.

"It's OK to me, because I get a standing ovation every time I look at it," McDowell said.

McDowell creates paintings in his Portland studio.

"They're all my favorites," he said. "They're all kids to me."

McDowell and Elvis Presley are forever linked. His voice was used successfully in the Presley TV movies and shows. McDowell's son had the idea to paint Presley.

"He said, 'Dad, why don't you paint Elvis showing Mickey Mouse how to dance on the Ed Sullivan Show?' And a light bulb went off," McDowell said.

The painting took almost six months to complete. He sent the painting to Disney's headquarters. They liked it so much, McDowell is now their official corporate creative artist, filling theme parks and offices with his work.

"So I'm now painting for Walt Disney, which is about as cool as having a hit record," McDowell said.

McDowell hasn't lost his love of music. He just finished a four-night run of shows in Canada and will spend the rest of the month playing concerts in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Arkansas. He said he'll be painting in between gigs.

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