I worried off and on this year that I was spending too much time in the past with my long ago relatives. But now that I’m stepping away from it for a while I feel even closer to the farm on Whirlwind Hill and to all the ghosts that kept me company while I wrote, painted, and researched.
Distance, as painters know, can make a painting come together. When you step back to take a look at what you’ve done, all those individual brush strokes suddenly coalesce and the image takes on its own life. What you thought were many little pieces become a complete view.
But there are many different views of the farm on Whirlwind Hill. I’ve written about happy times, good memories, tragedies, and successes. I’ve deliberately left out family quarrels, hard feelings, crop failures, and the stormy times that are an integral part of a long family history. I prefer a more cheerful slant, and chose the moments that worked to carry history into the present and give it an encouraging future.
Because this is my last regular post I’ll close with some painted views of the farm. The farm lives on for me as a feeling – a feeling and a memory of a place that embraced me and still connects me and my brother and cousins to the ancestors who loved and sheltered and protected us. I send out a huge thanks to all of you who followed my musings and encouraged me this year. I’ve enjoyed every minute of this project and every chance I’ve had to learn more about my readers.
Here is the painting of the farm by Mary E. Hart that hung in the farmhouse parlor. It was probably done around 1860-1870.
A hundred years later, my mother, Janet Hall Crump, made a copy of Mary’s painting and passed the copy on to me.
She – my mother – was my touchstone for farm memories and the source of endless stories about the family. She gave me not only her love for her childhood home, but also her sense of humor and her appreciation of painting and art. Thanks Mom!
In 1998, for my brother Kirt’s birthday, I made him a copy of my mother’s copy of Mary E. Hart’s painting. It always pleases me that the Hall barns were once painted yellow and the house and picket fence a classic white.
In 1985 I painted my own view of the farm, as I knew it during my childhood when the house had brown shingles and the barn had two silos. Because this is a monoprint, the image is backwards, but no less real to me.
In the end it doesn’t matter which is the “true” memory or the “real” view, because when I’m on Whirlwind Hill, I’m always home.