What made the difference was having the Component class' "finalize()" method explicitly call "flush()" on its BufferedImage before nulling it out. Once this was done, the verbose output from the GC confirmed that the BufferedImage's memory was being reclaimed and the OutOfMemoryException stopped.
Drag and drop (D&D) is an intuitive GUI gesture used for
transferring data from one GUI component to another. This second
article in the drag and drop series explores how you can transfer
data besides text and discusses the issues involved with developing
a library of D&D-enabled project Swing components. (4,400
f you're going to use widths in pixels, do remember that the default
target-resolution for PDF is 72dpi, which may or may not match the
resolution of your image. Recalculating the px-widths into something
more absolute is recommended for predictable results.