Picture Perfect?

Sep 16, 2011 | 2 comments


     Today is the day we decide where to hang a couple of newly framed pictures.  One is the portrait of me drawn a few weeks ago by my cousin Bruce.  I’ve been trying to look at it more objectively now that it’s framed.
     I still think the eyes are mine but not the nose.  The chin, maybe, but certainly not that jowly part!  The hint of hair, straight and non-frizzy – a definite improvement over reality!  On the whole, it seems to be the Serious Me.  I’m glad he put in all those smile lines around my eyes.  I don’t want posterity to think I looked so thoughtful all the time.
     We have a large oil portrait of my mother done in the 1960s by a Berkeley artist.  I think my dad took pleasure in it and maybe mom did, too.  I’ve never seen the likeness, myself.   It shows her mysterious, rather sexy, side – a side a daughter probably wouldn’t see.  For me, the missing part is her vivacity.   It’s hard to capture that on paper, I guess.
     On the other hand, we have an even larger portrait of my grandparents, done in tempera by Willard’s (then) wife, Hilda.  It was painted to commemorate their fiftieth wedding anniversary and I’ve always thought it captured them perfectly.
     It shows them in the east room of our house – the room they always called “The Nursery” for that’s what it was when my mother and her six siblings were young.  In later years, it became their retreat, their family room, their office, their reading room.  Hilda pictured them exactly as I remember them – Papa with his perpetual cup of coffee and Granny with her little typewriter on her lap.  Although they are in repose, they seem neither overly serious nor lacking in vitality.
     Predictably, Nyel is silent when it comes to comments about the drawing of me.  Probably wise of him.  Other people will undoubtedly offer their two-bits worth.  When they do, it will be interesting to see if my own objectivity holds up. 


  1. Nancy

    Two bits worth……Responding from my position of knowing her since 8th grade, the “real” Sydney: Merge the Facebook photo, 2/3 view of right side of her face (blue sweater and scarf) with her high school senior photo, 3/4 view of right side (white blouse) and, Voila! ….The real Sydney..

  2. Pat Krager

    Hi Sydney…I picture you with a smile or a laugh of pure enjoyment of a statement or an event…so it is difficult to picture you as serious in this way. Perhaps a moment deep in thought is what this captures. We all have so many moments in our lives…this has captured but one.


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