Monday, September 21, 2009


The dominoes were placed in the grate by some anonymous hand. We don't know if they were old when they were placed there, or if they got old sitting in the grate for over 40 or 50 years. When Mary found them they looked almost burnt, the white paint on the recesses was partially worn away, the edges cracked and the pieces broken. What significance did they have and why were they hidden with the other more valuable items? That is part of our mystery.

Using oil pastels I started sketching one of the pieces. Layering the colors the domino looked exceedingly bright, at first orange and red, then a layer of greens and blues to make it dark, it began to get muddy. Hesitatingly I added black and it instantly gave it the contrast to bring the piece some dimension. While doing the tiny 4 x 4 inch canvas I made up more of the story in my mind...

To help with the boredom aboard the Arabella, Patrick Hart had a box of dominoes. They were not new, they came in a leather box which was worn with age on the edges. He gently laid down the pieces against his opponents, ace to ace, deuce to deuce, holding the "trial" and hoping to use it before someone else went out. "The luck of the Irish" a deckhand yelled when Patrick won a game. But what kind of luck was it that forced his family to flee from famine and cholera?

And so he kept busy trying to forget the sadness on that long, arduous voyage to America.

See the series so far here.

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