Roeland Park artist captures spirit of Mission using her fingertip and cellphone

Bernie Lee
Roeland Park artist Bernie Lee presented her cellphone fingertip artwork at the Mission council meeting Nov. 28.

An artist from Roeland Park is selling prints of iconic images in Mission — all of which she created from her fingertip on her cellphone.

Bernadette “Bernie” Lee, owner of Art from Architecture, has drawn several well known sights of Mission, such as Pearl Harbor Park, Brothers Music KC, Mack True Value Hardware, Town Topic, Unleashed Pet Rescue, Mission Theatre, Sylvester Jr. Community Center, Mission Market, Mission Mart Shopping Center, even the Saturday food stand by Werner’s Fine Sausages and Mission Transit Center. She presented her artwork at the Nov. 28 Mission council meeting. Her cellphone fingertip artwork, which is available for purchase, is on display at city hall.

One day earlier this summer at a Doobie Brothers concert, Lee decided to draw Starlight Theatre using the memo application on her cellphone, a Samsung Edge 7. Using only the pad of her fingertip, she drew the theatre on her phone, which has a 2.5 by 3.5 inch screen.

“I always wanted to paint Starlight but I’d never done it; typically I paint in watercolor and pen and ink,” she said. “But I just pulled up the memo app on my phone, and where you’d normally write yourself a note with your finger, I started drawing Starlight.”

That’s when she got the idea: Why not create more images of local sights for her neighbors to enjoy?

“I don’t have to buy paint and canvases, and I can do it anywhere at any time, and no heavy lifting,” Lee said, adding that she prefers using watercolors. “It’s easily accessible to do frequently and more quickly.”

She had never intended to sell them, but while visiting her 90-year-old aunt in Galena, Illinois, she drew the historic downtown and one of the downtown storefront owners asked to buy an order.

“Everybody says, ‘Why don’t you use a stylus and an iPad?’” Lee said. “But for me, the challenge is seeing where the color will land by just using the pad of my fingertip. I don’t want to use an iPad and a stylus; to me, I can pull out a piece of paper and watercolor and use real paint. If I’m going to use technology, I want to really challenge myself.”

Her first project this summer was the Mission Market. Lee said the art pieces are particularly fun to create during those in-between moments, like while she’s waiting in line at the grocery store.
Lee said she takes requests for custom images.

Each of the 8.5 by 11 inch art pieces cost $25, including shipping. Adding a matte brings the size to 11 by 14 inches and costs $45; adding a frame brings the size to 16 by 20 inches with a total cost to $90. These are all local prices.

To find out how to purchase prints or request custom images, contact Lee at lee.bernie81@gmail.com.