As we were scanning images for the Fourth of July, we came across this iconic portrait of George Washington painted by Gilbert Stuart in 1795, not long after the country gained independence and elected its first president. Although we’d seen the image of Washington many times, we’d never seen the full canvas. It seems that Stuart had promised the portrait to Martha Washington when it was finished. He liked the portrait so much, he purposely left it unfinished so he could keep if for himself. He then used its image of Washington as a model for others, making numerous copies.

The iconic, unfinished portrait seems like a fitting metaphor for our wild country.  The most important part has been completed and rests within a blank abstract space as though waiting for the story to be revealed. (And the blank space remains that way for cunningly mercenary reasons…a potent force in our history and lives.)

Today, we’ve been watching the happy, jazzy, improvisational gatherings of family and friends in the park across the way, and celebrating all that is good…

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