Some artwork holds a special place in our memories and remains with us for a long time. This is the second instalment in a series of Blog posts where I’ll be sharing with you some of the paintings which I grew up with and which hold a special place in my heart.
‘Eleanor’ by Frank Weston Benson was always a breath of fresh air – almost literally! Whenever I looked at this painting I felt uplifted. The beautiful summer’s day just about leapt off the canvas. It was so inviting and I easily imagined myself transported into the scene, perched alongside Eleanor on the fence, engaging in pleasant conversation. Afterwards, we would venture down to the lakeside, the water beckoning a stolen swim or secret paddle to ease the effects of the late afternoon heat.
The whole painting had a freshness and energy about it – an effervescent glow and richness which drew me in. I loved the way the light played on her dress and her beautiful auburn hair. The textures were captivating and I marvelled at how such bold and large strokes could evoke the softness and delicacy of her pink attire, or suggest an array of finely detailed foliage in the trees behind.
Eleanor struck me as someone I’d like to get to know. She had confidence and poise, yet also presented a playfulness with the casual, almost nonchalant way she draped her hat. In that funny, childhood way we do, I had already made a connection with her as she shared my Mother’s middle name.
On a deeper level, I think this painting embodied for me the echoes of a less complicated life. This was a simple, carefree and joyful existence with time to just sit and ‘be’. It was a place where my worries and troubles no longer seemed important or relevant. I could visit any time and be carried away on the most gentle of breezes.