The portrait is Jennifer's gift to her mother, Gloria, and an honouring of her maternal grandmother, Dolly, recently deceased.

The initial planning begins with tea and a table covered with photographs.  Jennifer and Gloria, in a blending of tears and laughter, allow memories to come to life and the stories start to flow.  In the end, we all agree that Dolly, fittiingly, will occupy the background, that she will be fully present, subtly separate, utterly connected.  I come out of this meeting with the central theme on which the painting will be composed.

Dolly crowns a time-line of beautiful women, three generations whose roots are in Acadia, whose traditions -- basket weaving and quilting -- emerge as metaphor for the women themselves: tactile, substantial, and purposeful.  The quilting functions as framework, speaks to the theme of Time, not as it is measured by the clock but by love, patience, connection and completion that characterize the making of an heirloom.  It suggests the proverbial "stitch in time" that creates the warm and colourful whole from chosen pieces.

The clock, in deference to Dolly, reads "almost midnight" -- the witching hour.  Time, both concrete and imagined -- the click of the clock, the click of the camera, the moment before, the moment beyond -- takes place.  Dolly connects both to the moving curtains and to her daughter's shoulder, ethereal as the air, and as concrete as her manicured fingers.

The big basket of pink flowers dominates the foreground.  The flowers are informal, a lively, generous and spontaneous femininity, an explosion that, like the women's laughter, is irresistibly life affirming.  (To hear them laugh is to experience a burst that calls for celebration.)

The women invite us to enter an interior world in which a joyful imagination is at play.  Intimate, material and fully occupied, this world is far from static.  Soon Jennifer and Gloria will get up from the table.  Will they set it then for an impromptu midnight feast or will they grab their coats and set out for some planned, late-night revelry?  Either way, as both artist and viewer, I want to join them.

Summer's Edge

Back then they called them snapshots, these lovely moments, greyed,
lined up in no particular way in albums or left loose.
Some beg to be re-entered, their serrated edges smudged by thumbs,
their yellow cast speaking to time past, urging memory, promising,
If we let time allow, a passage to the Then they hold
A step away from Now.

Summer's Edge

So now I take one in my hand and let its Once take hold
to float me past its wavy edge through time
to childhood's summer when, boat-bound and homeward
in the fading sun, we ripple on toward the white house with the red roof,
Powel's Point, the old Hunter Mine,
our happy house in "the Porcupine."

One step, and now I'm on the shore, now nestled in the rocks,
I hug myself together in that Once the camera caught.
Sheer fullness floats in front of me, it waves as if I'm there
and I sit still, undistanced, wedged, a captive
'Til I hear the click that catches Now and sends it . . .
Rippling into Then.

Summer's Edge