Well folks, I think this piece is finished. I have reached the point at which doing anything else would be too much, so I am calling it DONE. I will be mounting this onto a gallery wrap canvas a bit later so it will not need a frame.
A bit of info about the persons in this piece. The original photo was this:
The individuals are (L-R): Lee, Roy, and Fletch Jenkins; William Hobart Holder; and Fred Higdon. The Jenkins boys were cousins of my grandfather, and Lee looks remarkably like Grandpa when he was younger. Hobart and Fred were both married to Grandpa's cousins. When I was a child Hobart ran a little community gas and grocery in Stecoah. I used to go there with my Uncle Bart in the evenings or on Saturday. The cinder block building was always cool and inviting as we moved from the hot dusty parking lot to the cool gray concrete floor of the inside. The walls were lined with homemade shelves stocked with every thing from motor oil to fresh hot dog buns. Wire racks near the door enticed Uncle Bart with Moon Pies, Sno Balls, and Honey Buns and a smaller one against the wall on the counter held Snickers, Three Muskateers, coconut bars and Pay Days at eye level so he could not miss them. You see, trips to Hobart's store were not for gas or groceries, but to appease Uncle Bart's famous sweet tooth; those two racks were his primary target as he ambled through the door with a "Howdy boys" to the locals perched on straight back chairs around the room. Uncle Bart would always treat me to an ice cream or a soft drink. The drinks swam in icy water in a huge box-like cooler; I can still feel the edge of the cooler pressing into my stomach and rib cage as I hung over the side fishing for a bottle of Coke or Nehi Orange soda. Once my selection was made the bottle cap was removed by placing it under the bottle opener attached to the side of the cooler and giving it a quick downward snap; the cap would fall into the metal box underneath, clinking to rest among the caps left by other thirsty patrons. When I turned the bottle up and took a long drink, it was so cold it almost made my teeth hurt. The Coke,stronger than it is now, would make my nose and eyes tingle as I took my first sip. Soft drinks just aren't as refreshing now as they were then--or maybe it has something to do with rarity? I don't know, but I know that my Coke in a can just doesn't have the same effect as that tiny little bottle did after being fished from the icy depths of the cooler in Holder's Shell and Grocery.