As most art buffs will tell you, a good painting is meant to evoke a thousand words in an attempt to describe not only what one sees, but the emotions that are triggered when looking at it. I thought of that today when I happened to be over to Major Erickson Funeral Home and noticed in their lobby hanging an absolutely gorgeous winter street scene of the 100 Block of North Federal depicting an early evening in winter. I’ve normally never liked paintings that depict winter since they most times quickly remind me of the cold and darkness of the north. Whomever created this winter street scene was able to use the motion of people, carriages, and lighted lamps to counter-balance the darkness and cold. I asked one of the people that I was with whom I know also doesn’t like winter, to walk over and look at the painting. She came back and fully agreed that it was very well done. Sometime, I must investigate who the painter was and see if there are any other works.
Since I’m definitely not a painter, I can fully appreciate the amount of planning and work involved in creating a portrait or landscape that appeals to the general public and awakens the emotions that the painting was meant to invoke. Since I’ve had the opportunity to see many masterfully created paintings in my long years of marketing real estate, many sellers are quite surprised when I happen to comment on a painting hanging in their homes. It is almost always their favorite and likely either an heirloom or one of which they paid a handsome price.
My baptism in the appreciation of art came at an early age when as a family we would visit my great aunt who’s tastes were exceptional. She didn’t have a large amount of furnishings, but what she had was likely very expensive as well as carefully chosen to fit a place in her home. After her death, my mother spoke of her spending hours in a store carefully examining furnishings and likely getting the “feel” of them in her mind. She had a very well framed portrait of The Rehearsal in her living room. I used to sit and look at it, and one time while she was sitting alone with me she said, “I see you like my painting.” I answered “Yes I do but I don’t know why.” She continued on for quite some time explaining the expressions, the light, the depth, as well as the mood that was being depicted. With her careful explanation as well as my being so young with the child’s mind similar to a sponge, I started making a point to examine paintings and prints more closely when at first glance they caught my eye.
I was given an expensive print by a company I worked for a number of years ago as a going away gift. I was very appreciative of the thought, but I never really liked the emotion that was evoked whenever I looked at it. I had it hanging in a place where it wouldn’t be so easily noticed for quite some time until one day I happened to list a home whose owners collected that particular artist’s prints. The home sold relatively quickly and I moved forward to sell them another. All went well on that sale as well. One day about three years later, I happened to notice that print hanging and a burning desire came upon me to deliver it to those who were missing it from their collection. Standing on their porch with it and handing it to them with the most precious look on their faces evoked the most wonderful feeling I would have never received from that print while I had it hanging.
So, If one day you find a curious child looking at a painting, step out of yourself and ask, “Do you see what I see?” It may open the door for that child’s new appreciation for art.