There was some tough contenders for the most amazing birthday present this year: two great dresses, Amber's herbal oil (more about that later!), my very own first hiking backpack and a brand new set of camping plates, mugs and bowls from Charlie (more about that later, as well), a gorgeous bracelet and perfume from my friend Summer and countless other awesome presents, most of them handmade. Like I said, I have the best friends and family. If I had to pick though (and luckily I don't) the best present would just have to be this original painting from Phoebe.
When she told me that she'd made me painting, I didn't even know how to react. I've admired her art a long while now and have a few of her prints and her calendar, so can you imagine how excited I was to have this beautiful, magical original painting?!?!? Not to mention that it was way nice of her. One of those humbling "this person is so generous" -moments.
These pictures don't do the painting justice. It's so intricate, layered and beautifully colored. I really should have taken some shots of it before I framed it. Honestly though, I was so nervous that something would happen to it before I could find a frame, that I spend the better part of a day ferreting through our old picture frame collection just to find something to protect it. I could just picture setting it down on a table to photograph it and getting a big old stain on it, or having a cat traipse across it. I know myself, I can't have nice things.
Luckily Phoebe said I could use this scan from her blog, so here she is in all her glory:
This painting is just a dream. I mean look at it: the little forest floor scene, a Tomte woman wearing a Norwegian sweater and a striped skirt, handing a mouse a strawberry from her basket and a taciturn frog on the foreground. Generosity, animism, wildcrafting, Scandinavia, forest spirits…basically all of my favorite themes in one glorious watercolor! It hangs at the top of the stairs in our bedroom, and it always makes me smile to see it when I get up there. It's in a corner flanked by two windows and looking at it is like gazing through a third window, only instead of seeing the tall trees and big rocks, I'm looking deep into a magical world in the undergrowth...
The best part though, came when after I finally found a passable frame for the time being, while Charlie and I were admiring it. After I had hung it up, he said:
"So…I'm the frog?"
"I don't really think it's a portrait."
"Yeah, but that girl is probably you. She's dressed like you. Even has that little hat. Or you could be the mouse. They're one of your animals. I think I'm the frog. I'm like 'Meh, I'm cool, whatever.' I'm the frog."
It's not like I was going to argue with that.
For the record, though I own a Gnome/ Tomte hat, I don't wear it habitually. Only on Yule.
Thank you again Phoebe, this painting will be definitely be one of our family treasures!
This post is the first in a little series about pieces of art we have in our home, from postcards, to prints, to photos, to original drawings, to mobiles and my husband's carvings. Stay tuned, it'll probably happen maybe once a week.