Plums – Abigail Adams, Seven of Spades
1997, oil and acrylic on canvas, 70 x 64”
Abigail Adams was often left by her husband John to take care of the farm during his frequent absences — once as America’s representative in France, he was away for 4 years! They exchanged more letters than any other first couple. In this painting, it is 5 A.M. John is preparing to leave once again. Abigail is too distraught to eat, but John is having sausages and plums. The hummingbird, attracted by the flowers in Abigail’s hair, has become trapped — a metaphor for Abigail’s responsibilities on the farm as John pursued his career. The red bow around Abigail’s neck reinforces the connection between the bird and Abigail. John Adams rose to renown for fighting against the Stamp Act and taxation without representation. If the Stamp Act (a tax on paper products including playing cards) had succeeded, the British seal would have looked like the design on Abigail’s teapot, most likely without the addition of John Adam’s portrait. John did succeed though, and a whole lot of tea was dumped into the ocean. The British finally said the hell with it, and after two brief wars left us alone.
Everybody asks me about the cat with the cataract. It’s a very old cat.