The stories continue to pour in from the Paint Cuba! Publisher’s Invitational trip to Havana and its outskirts in February. One artist bumped into an old friend of her deceased mother. Tears ensued.
Rhonda McCay is the daughter of an artist, and she recalls the friendships her mother had with fellow painters. “In the last 40 years of Mom’s life, she talked about many artists,” says McCay. “One she really thought a lot of was Glen Knowles. He was a teacher at a college and was in two of her art groups. Glen and his wife, Pam, lived in Palmdale, California, and Mom took me out to their house once to pick out a painting. He didn’t have any available, but I was to get one another day. He did a trade with Mom. They had a few of her pieces and just loved them.

A portrait by Glen Knowles painted on the Paint Cuba! Publisher’s Invitational trip

“I went to Cuba to paint with a group sponsored by PleinAir magazine, and it was fabulous. We had 100 people on the trip, most of whom were artists. Since the group was so big, they divided us into three groups, and we rarely saw the other group members.
“The last night of the trip we all went to dinner together and later took a few of our paintings to the bar to have a fun group show. As I was walking around, I saw a portrait painting that I fell in love with. I looked to see who painted it. I saw Glen Knowles. I couldn’t believe it could be the same person, but yep, he was from Palmdale. Here I am in Cuba, hanging out with artists, and I run into one of Mom’s friends. Who would of thought? Of course, I started crying. That is what I do when I am reminded of Mom. I was so overwhelmed and thrilled. I told them I was Rhonda Thatcher and they put it together right away. He and Pam said they recognized me, but couldn’t figure out from where. The last time they saw me was at Mom’s Celebration of Life. They loved her so much. As we all do.
“I know Mom would have thought this was wonderful. She was so thrilled that through her love and encouragement, I started painting. Here, once again, Mom’s love spreads across the globe.”
Eric Rhoads, the publisher of PleinAir magazine, previously wrote about the trip in PleinAir Today, and you can read it here. Turner Vinson created a video that communicates the feel of the trip; it can be found here.


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