Hello! I'm back! I had a fantastic break. I feel rested and ready to go...except that I'm still figuring out exactly where I want to go and what I want I work on in 2016. If you follow me on Instagram you know that my daily habit is to go back to working in my sketchbook this year. I'm also launching a new weekly series. Those are the two things I know for sure, so let's start there.
This year every Monday morning, I'll share a mixed media portrait and a story about the subject. Here's the piece that inspired this new series.
Meet Eva "Granny" Barnes Henderson who lived along the Buffalo River near Ponca, Arkansas. I didn't know Granny but her story impacted me.
In 1976, after the National Park Service designated the Buffalo National River and its surrounding 95,000 acres a protected area, Land Acquisition officers went to see Eva Barnes Henderson, known to everyone as “Granny.” Granny Henderson lived in a four room cabin in the Buffalo Valley, on 160 acres of land that park officials needed for their project. She’d lived there since 1912. She and her husband farmed, raised cows and chickens and had gotten a “water witch” to locate the spot where they dug their well.
Since her husband’s death 23 years earlier, Granny lived alone with her dogs and her guns, without running water or electricity. She was well-known to those who floated the Buffalo River, and National Geographic once wrote that she exemplified “the finest attributes of an Ozark woman.”
Granny told the Park Service that she wouldn’t sell her place “for anything.” According to her family, she was told that if she didn’t, her home would be condemned and her land taken. After several years of pressure, she agreed, and her family built her a new home. It was wintertime, and she asked for a time extension for her move, until the weather warmed up. The Park Service agreed, but made her pay rent on the land she’d lived on for 65 years. Worst of all, Granny had to give up her beloved livestock, which she’d carried water to from her well every day for over half a century.
The day of the move, Granny begged to stay in her cabin until the last load of her possessions had been hauled away. She sat on a stool and cried the entire day. Her health soon deteriorated and she moved in with family members, who took care of her. She died in 1979, three years after the National Park Service first knocked on her cabin door. She had spent only two days in her new house.
Granny Henderson was one of the last of the Buffalo River Valley landowners, and the most well known. Her cabin is still standing, and is a popular stop for those hiking Center Point Trail north of Ponca.
story via Hiking in the Ozarks
I'd love for YOU to be a part of this Monday Mournings series. I bet you have a photo of someone with an awesome story. Maybe you knew this person and something about their life will impact others. Maybe you didn't know them personally but still feel the impact of their story. I'd love for you to submit a story and photo(s) for my new series Monday Mournings.
If I use your photo/story, I will send you the mixed media portrait at the end of this project. FREE! It will be my gift to you for sharing this person with us. Fair warning: I may NOT use all of the photos/stories that are submitted. Good, clear photos make the best references. Also I'm looking for stories of strength, character, compassion, creativity, and kindness. Not all stories will be a good fit for this project.
Submit your (digital) photo(s) and story by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can't wait to hear from you! I need YOUR help to make this series a success. Depending on others scares me so I know that this is exactly what I need to do!