Mary K. Baxley is the sort of woman I can listen to for hours-- she is always so full of stories and practical know-how, whether the subject be education, sewing, literature, history, health and home remedies, or the culture of the Old South. It was her interest in Jane Austen that led her to start writing Pride and Prejudice sequels/variations with a distinctly Southern twist, and she has self-published three of these imaginative works already: The Cumberland Plataeu: A Pride and Prejudice Sequal, Dana Darcy, and The Mistress's Black Veil: A Pride and Prejudice Vagary. All this having been said, when she asked for something simple and bold with blossoms such as magnolias or dogwoods to add a bit more Southern Charm to the wall behind a quilt-covered bed, I wanted to make sure she would have a suitable work. At first, I had planned a more controlled rendering, but the loose brushstrokes of Impressionism seemed to present a better play of light and movement for the room, one that suggests a spring afternoon, a breeze to soften the harsh heat of Alabama, and the simple pleasure of a glass of lemonade and an afternoon of story-telling on the porch. This is, incidentally, one of the reasons I enjoy doing commissions-- because each person will require something very different, very specific to personal memories, lifestyles, and tastes, and finding a way to combine my artistic tendencies with theirs presents an interesting challenge. After the last stroke is applied, I feel a sense of cheerful anticipation, wondering what the reaction to the painting will be. . . and the words "It's beautiful, I love it!" are as sweet as the finest of pecan pies. . .