Well, I finally got the Big Island of Hawaii the way I liked it. Using paint, embroidery and quilting, I found the texture and shapes I wanted to remember.
Yes, I know I didn’t give enough room to the emergent volcano in the south east corner, and little red sparkly beads, to denote flowing lava, have been suggested. But for now, I am happy with it.
And now my mind has wandered to another island. This one is located inside a certain theme park in Southern California, and is named after title character in Mark Twain’s most popular book.
I started with sketches from my memory, then went on websites to see the lovely hand drawn maps from 1955. I realized the three-quarter view that showed the buildings skewed things a bit.
So I cheated. I went to Google maps, found Anaheim, and zoomed in. The satellite setting shows right where everything is, and it isn’t as I remember it. The cove we crossed on the pontoon and suspension bridges are tiny compared to my memories.
The “fort” that sold pickles from a barrel felt and as though it was at the end of the world, alas, was not. But my memories of joy and adventures are intact. The feeling of rocks under my sneakers and dust in my nose is there, waiting to be called up.
My version of this island will be a compromise between my childhood adventures and the actual place they happened, between the illusion and the reality. And that’s okay, too. Off to paint now!