Coming from a family of musicians, Keli Schaefer didn't delve into her calling as an artist until adulthood.
The 2002 California High School graduate was inspired greatly by former resident and watercolorist Loran Creech.
Creech's former residence is among about a dozen landmarks in California, which will be featured in her current project celebrating small towns.
Schaefer will show off those pieces, as well as perform with her husband, Michael, as Borrowed Time, at the End of Summer Sip and Chill 6-9 p.m. Saturday at Grind, 314 S. Oak St. While in Mid-Missouri from their St. Louis home, the couple also will play 8-11 p.m. Friday at Outpost, Centertown.
Growing up, Schaefer said she took art classes, but seemed to better at guitar. So she followed the family trade, performing in the St. Louis music scene with her father after high school.
When the economy tightened up, Schaefer added painting while singing to support their income.
As she grew confident in her talent with the paintbrush, she began painting professionally off stage, too.
"It was always something I loved to do; it's all I do now," Schaefer said.
At her studio, Artist for Hire, she also teaches classes, and she is expanding into body paint. At this year's St. Louis Renaissance Festival, she will provide face and body painting.
"I'll do anything I can to get my hand on a brush," she said.
Painting is like expressing herself in a second language, Schaefer said. And that's what she tries to share with her students and those who view her art.
"I want to free people's minds with my painting," she said.
One of the life lessons Schaefer has learned from painting is having the willingness to make mistakes.
While she performs and paints on stage, it can be difficult to follow that advice, she admitted.
The American Idol finalist has been doing the combination for about five months in the St. Louis area. Schaefer said she hopes this weekend is the beginning of more traveling performances.
"It's a unique performance, nobody else is doing," she said.
This weekend's performances will be mostly relaxing, classic rock. While Michael plays guitar, Schaefer moves between painting on her canvas and playing guitar with vocals and a harmonizer.
"It's exciting to come back home and have a place to play," Schaefer said.
Her series of paintings Small Towns is her way to contribute to the community's betterment, she said.
"People are losing their connection to the previous generation; I hope my my art opens up those doors."