Paul & Viola, 1897 begins with an old studio portrait of my grandfather and his sister. Painted in 2004, this was one of my first story paintings is incorporate a touch of magic. In the original photo, Viola is seated on a brocade-draped stool. The folds of the fabric made me think of the base of a tree. Next I wondered what was happening in 1897 where they lived in Illinois. No cars yet, no electrical wires. Forests would be being cut to make farmland – hence the hatchet at Paul’s feet. In homage to Hieronymous Bosch, an artist I have always loved, I have extended the landscape beyond normal vision and allowed the viewer to see all the way to the purple mountain majesties of Colorado. There are tiny buffalo grazing the distant fields. Nearer in, a train and the mighty Mississippi.