Sepia Saturday challenges bloggers to share family history through old photographs.
This week’s Sepia Saturday prompt features a man at the piano. On the wall is a painting that bears a slight similarity to one that once hung above the fireplace at my grandparents’ home.
Too bad the picture isn’t in color. Then one could appreciate the varied shades of the teal of the water next to the olive green of the grass. The mother of pearl accents in the houses look like the lights are on. And no wonder - after all, it appears either a storm or night is approaching. All in all, it is a very moody painting - moody in a good way.
This is one of two paintings my grandmother inherited from her mother Mary Sudie Rucker. The other is this smaller square one.
|Square reverse glass painting|
The color is still good and hints at the milky tones of its rectangular sister.
In my young mind, the two pictures were part of a single thought, with the mill and church being at the other end of the stream separating the houses in the other picture. I could sit in Grandma’s living room and stare at these paintings for the longest time creating little stories. Often I imagined arriving by rowboat to visit someone in one of the houses. Sometimes I imagined climbing out of the second story window of the mill and balancing myself on that wooden structure leading to the church. (What is THAT? Is it a chase? A fence?)
Eventually the pictures went to my mother and finally to me. I wanted to display the longer one, but I noticed the painting was damaged. The paint was flaking off.
This painting dates to the early 1900s when the ancient technique of reverse glass painting was still quite popular; adding touches of mother of pearl was too. Artists painted with acrylics and oils on the back of the glass and then turned it over. We view the image through the glass. Pastoral scenes like the ones here were probably easier to create than portraits since the artist was essentially painting backwards.
I looked for an artist who could repair the painting or at least prevent further damage, but no one would take the job on. So the long painting has been donated to a charity thrift store; maybe the frame will be useful to someone. I still have the smaller one, but it too is showing signs of paint ready to flake away.
|Paint is pulling away from the glass.|
I wonder how much longer this one will last.
Please visit Sepia Saturday for more stories of pianos, paintings, and curly-headed men.
© 2018, Wendy Mathias. All rights reserved.