This has been much more of an emotional project than I anticipated. Concentrating on this image of my early years at Michillinda and the days of living next door to Marne and her family--and near the other cottagers in our summer "colony"--has ended up being a long meditation on my own mother, who has been gone for over 30 years now.
Her presence is still so strong there, as that place exists almost outside of time. And Marne was one of her friends. When I visit with Marne, she can still tell me new stories about my mom, which is a miracle, really! So my work on this Michillinda portrait for Marne of course ended up being a surrogate gift to my own mother, representing my longing for her still, and my gratitude at still being connected to her through her old friend.
Once the landscape was completed, I pinned it to a piece of acid-free foam core. The pinning was to keep it in place while I stretched it, as I had to be absolutely sure that that horizon line on the front was going to be perfectly horizontal.
The front has been stretched nice and snug, as you can see here.
This is the back of the backing. The white stuff is Pellon fusible fleece...It has a bit of body and stiffness that gives a nice finish to the backside of the mounted landscape.
Here is the backing pinned into place. The photograph is of Marne's family dining room table at the cottage, with a further table in the addition beyond it. (She has a very large family.) The lace rose motif belonged to Marne's grandmother and dates from the Civil War; the inscription speaks for itself.
The front, all done. I had to add a little more embroidery to the left foreground...
I have another painting by my Uncle Hal that shows our cottage to better effect...I may enlarge upon this idea and make another Michillinda portrait for my family...
But before I leave this subject..., I can't write about Marne without mentioning Sallie, who lived on the other side of us along the row and at 92, is the other icon of Michillinda. She too was my mother's friend...this is the first year she hasn't been at the lake; she's got some health issues keeping her home, but no doubt she is battling them with her usual fierce energy. I got to see her last year, though.
Sallie is a force to reckon with, and I remember many an evening my mom would storm home from her cottage saying, "That Sallie makes me so Damn Mad!!!!"
But Sallie is the one who has an old photo of my mom pinned to the door of her bedroom at Michillinda, because she still misses her so much.
I love her for that.
She let me take a quick snap of it....and there is my mother, gazing out at the lake as we all do, disappearing into the light.