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Through
my father’s
magnifying


glass

Almost blind for most of his life, my father loved maps. He spent most evenings sitting at his table, in our living room, a magnifying glass in his right hand, his left hand’s index finger pointing at a page of one of his atlas books.

Sometimes his finger would carefully follow some mountain railroad track he had been riding many years before. Other times his finger would “walk” around far away cities that he had never visited. He would then open one of his travel guides or magazines, and cross-reference the information written there with one of his maps.

In looking at the vertical line-up of your painting, I noticed that you begin with a 30,000 feet aerial view of the landscape your father searched, a view of complex patches and thin-line paths of roads. Gradually, the view gets closer to the details and you leave open, unpainted spaces that suggest your father’s intense focus in a particular place, still with obvious paths and roadways. The colors in these two types of paintings are strongly recognizable as lush environments.
But, when I got to the last two images, I noticed that the pathways blurred to non-existence as the muted earth tones of grays and browns merged together into large shapes that overlap and fade in some places into the white substrate. I sensed in your painting your sensitivity to your father’s likely deteriorating eyesight and the view, even through the magnifying glass, made it harder and harder to search for the information and stories he sought.
I can see your love of your father in these paintings that are enhanced by the story you wrote about him and his magnifying glass.
— Eileen Harwood