Friday, February 26, 2010

Good Morning, 1923

O N  W O O D — Though I have no way of knowing what time of day this portrait was taken, it says 'Good Morning' to me. This is one of my grandmother's early 1920s portraits, taken at the Indian Point House in Stony Creek, CT, ca 1923. I've found literally hundreds of negatives of her work, tucked away in candy boxes and envelopes at the bottom of boxes or old drawers. I'm scanning them and finding absolute treasures of the period.  She took photos only as a hobby, and as far as I can tell, rarely printed the negatives. Such a shame, because she had a real way of bringing out the emotion of a scene. The details picked up from her relatively crude box camera are amazing too.

This piece, 23 x 32 inches on plywood, is one of a series of six I did a few years ago. I printed the portraits out 6-8 different ways, and then cut them all up and reassembled them on the wood backgrounds. Some have paint and/or a glaze finish. In this series, I wanted to preserve the original work while staying true to my sensibilities too. They all have at least 5 coats of polyurethane, sanded down between coats for a smooth finish. I also sand the pieces before adding the polyurethane, giving them a well-worn and warm patina-like appearance.

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