Every Picture Tells a Story

Every once in a while I’m able to justify the time I waste on social media by coming across something I truly love. Here’s my latest find:

There are so many things I adore about this image. Let me count the ways:

  1. The setting is quintessential American heartland. I love the red barn, and even though they don’t appear in the painting, I can imagine what the house looks like, and what color the old pick up truck is that made the ruts in the dirt drive.
  2. The field of newly-sprouted crops against the rich purple-brown soil reminds me of the pattern in a favorite quilt.
  3. I can remember a time (long before emails, direct messages, and tweets) when I sometimes haunted our mailbox, waiting for a letter, so I understand what it was like for this woman to receive a long-awaited letter. I love that she couldn’t wait to get back to the house, but opened the letter and started reading, right there at the mailbox.
  4. There’s a small silhouette of an airplane in the top left corner of the painting; that, combined with the woman’s age and clothing, makes me think of all the mothers who kissed their sons good-bye when they went off to fight in World War II. That’s the story I imagine this painting is about: a mother anxiously waiting for news that her soldier son is healthy and unharmed.
  5.  I love the sweet way she holds the envelope to her cheek.
  6. The way the sun tops the horizon just as the woman is reading the letter is a beautiful touch.

I’m sure there are many other ways to interpret this painting: A mother waiting to hear from a daughter who moved to the big city; or a grandmother who hasn’t seen her grandchildren in a long time because they moved out of state. The possibilities are endless.

But that’s the beauty of a really good picture or painting: It tells a different story to each person who views it.

This painting is signed by an artist named  “John Falter.” I Googled the name, but I couldn’t come up with a definite match. I’m going to keep looking, though; I’d love to see other pieces by this artist, and see what other stories he has to tell me through his brush.

How about you? Have you ever come across a painting or photograph that really speaks to you or touches your heart? I’d love to hear about it!