Sunday, October 21, 2007

now we are six


When I was six, my great uncle painted a portrait of me. I hated sitting still for so long and was furious that he added a pink ribbon to my hair and filled in the neckline of my dress with some vague white swirls that were supposed to represent lace. What he did get right was the set of my mouth and the lift of my chin. I was in California, away from home for the very first time, and if I was homesick or missed my parents, I was determined that no-one would ever be able to tell.

22 comments:

Lori said...

It's a beautiful portrait though... despite your hatred of it. But it is funny the things that can infuriate us as children.

You look to be a very pretty, but serious child. And you do look sad...

Lori said...

The thing that struck me was that the texture of the painting evokes the waves on your masthead.

Yes, sad. Pensive and sad.

ALM said...

How great to have that moment in time captured... what a treasure!

Eva said...

I have a photograph of me from about the same age. I remember all about the moment it was taken. I'm glad you have that painting. You look old for your years.

painted maypole said...

it's cool to have a painting of yourself... doctored or no.

Ruby said...

Beautiful portrait. A family heirloom. Sad and pensive with all that intelligence and beauty.

M said...

such serious eyes for one so young...

Monica said...

That is a wonderful portrait and I'd love to see a six year old photo to compare it to. It does have an antique quality to it that makes it haunting (and that is no knock on your age.. which I don't even know). It reminds me of a photo I saw of Anastasia. And yes you do look wise beyond your years.

Suz said...

The set of your mouth is so determined in the way that kids do it.

Elizabeth said...

I didn't think sad; I thought stubborn and defiant.

LawMommy said...

You were a very thoughtful looking child. (In fact, as I look at this, I am reminded of a passage from Frances Hodgson Burnett's "A Little Princess" - that goes like this:

"She was such a little girl that one did not expect to see such a look on her small face. It would have been an old look for a child of twelve, and Sara Crewe was only seven. The fact was, however, that she was always dreaming and thinking odd things and could not herself remember any time when she had not been thinking things about grown-up people and the world they belonged to.
She felt as if she had lived a long, long time."

Sorry to be so long. This passage just jumped into my brain when I saw the painting.

Gretchen

Beck said...

Have you read The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright? There's a portrait in it that reminds me A LOT of yours.

niobe said...

I don't remember any of the pictures, but I vividly recall the book. I especially remember being outraged at the fact that the father forced the oldest girl to remove the nail polish (with perfume, I think) that she spent her whole afternoon having put on.

Pamela Jeanne said...

I'm always taken aback by the emotions that live inside portraits. This one is no different. (What a striking child and, no doubt, woman you are).

meg said...

You look so serious in this portrait. And those massive eyes...you have mentioned them before, but they really are bigger than dinner plates!

Magpie said...

You don't look six - I'd have guessed 12-13-14.

You do look serious.

You also look curiously familiar - like a character in a book, or even one of my cousins.

Thanks for sharing it.

Julia said...

I think you might have failed on the no-one can tell front. But maybe the people around were unobservant enough that they couldn't tell.
Beautiful portrait, and I too would've thought much older than 6.

So then your love of pink started later on?

Furrow said...

I would say defiant fits. And funny that Magpie should have said it already, but you sort of look like one of my cousins.

niobe said...

Julia: It wasn't that I didn't like pink. It was that I wasn't *really* wearing a pink ribbon, so the painting shouldn't have included a pink ribbon.

Christine said...

you look so sad. or maybe mad.

but it is lovely.

i would have been pissed too that he added something that wasn't there before.

marta said...

A very young bershon shot. ;-)

http://www.flickr.com/groups/bershon/

Amelie said...

I'm not sure if it is "a comforting sort of thing to have", but it certainly is beautiful and precious.
While I cannot tell whether you were homesick, you do not look happy. Which might also come from your lack of enthusiasm about sitting still all the time.