“According to the rules, you are always supposed to have a plan, but my plan is constantly changing,” says Yakima fine art painter Becky Melcher, who has spent most of her life not listening to the voices of convention. During the 1970s, to pay for college in Los Angeles, Melcher got her pilot license and ferried airplanes between the Santa Monica and Van Nuys airports, but while she loved flying, she wasn’t so excited about where all her money was going.
“College seemed to promise nothing, so I eventually quit and went to work for a law firm summarizing depositions. Back in the day there weren’t very many college paralegal programs, so this was learned on the job. I was self-sufficient and independent!
“But as satisfying at that time was, I was fed up with Los Angeles. So I visited my aunt in Yakima, was spellbound by what I saw and never returned to California.”
She married, had triplets six months into her pregnancy, and eventually arranged to work from home, summarizing depositions for a local law firm. And when she could, she painted: representational landscapes during a time when abstract was the art world’s favorite child. After 40 years of being in the legal field — ranging from working for a government contractor making parts for nuclear submarines to administrating the business office of a private law firm — Melcher retired and threw herself full time into what she never had time enough for before.