One of the things I especially enjoy about working from old snapshots is the opportunity to really look closely at the images. I usually work with pictures of people I do not know, but this time I wanted to work with an old photo from maybe 1956 or so of my younger sister and me.
I scanned and enlarged the original, and drew us, simplifying the background so much as to be pretty much unrecognizable. In the original we were standing on the covered front porch, in front of the wooden door that had an oval window filled with beveled glass. The sun was in our eyes, and we were dressed in our good wool winter coats, trimmed in fur. We both wore hats, tied under our chins. The shapes of the door and window behind us are only suggested here by using an old diary page, wallpaper and bits of a Wisconsin map.
Yesterday I started pushing back the paper background, suggesting a shadow of the overhead roof, and adding shadows behind us girls. I still need to make decisions about the floor, and later when the skin tones are more dry, I need to warm up the flesh tones and deepen the shadows.
Staring at the old photo I remember how much Mother liked decorating the old farm house for Christmas. I removed the homemade styrofoam-pipe cleaner-felt Santa head that hung on the door from my painting, and the bit of our Flexible Flyer sled that showed. Clearly the picture was taken in December. In those early days we always had green Christmas trees, covered with glass ornaments and heavy lead icicles that we kids liked to toss on the tree in a very un-artistic way. Funny all those memories that return, just from staring at an old snapshot.