Thursday, March 3, 2011

What feeds you?


Kindled by what my daughter shared at Paper Canary, I got to thinking about a painting that inspired and stuck with me, and sort of developed a part of me - something I identified with (or wanted to). When I was a kid, it wasn't Barbie glam or the Fairy tale princess that I wanted to be. It was the homely cook in the kitchen that grabbed my heart. Vermeer caught me first with his painting Maid Pouring Milk. The beauty, the dignity, the quiet ordinary--I wanted it. Could I articulate this when I first saw the picture in my Child's World encyclopedia? Nope. I was only five or six. But something sparked.

Then there was the flour-dusted granny from My First Reader. Yeah. I wanted to be her, too. Why? I don't know, but there was something warm, comforting, and safe in that world. Simple domesticities. I love cooking for and feeding people. It's my love language. Like Kenneth Grahame's Wind in the Willows, "Come along inside...we'll see if tea and buns can make the world a better place".

How about you? Can you think back on any work of art that inspired your likes or loves?



Joining Emily today
Imperfect prose

38 comments:

Beth Stone said...

I've always loved this Vermeer.... and all things domestic. :o) When my friends were out shopping and talking about boys, I was home learning how to crochet and bake bread with my grandmother...

Great post...

Nancy said...

Yes. I think tea and buns can make the world a better place. I love that you wanted to live inside the world of a Vermeer painting. I love the way you see life.

Julie said...

Yes, I can see you and your home as the subject of Vermeer. I think I've told you that your home is one of the most comfortable and comforting places I know. Just like you.

Linda said...

That is extraordinary that you could put yourself into the place of Vermeer's milk maid, at so young an age. Aside from what she is doing and her calm concentration, the painting is so luminous that it invokes holiness and seems to point to God's love. Just a beautiful memory of a remarkable moment of your life. Thank you.

-t- said...

when i was in elementary school i was assigned a poem with picture... i wrote about nature & how its details related to & reminded me of my grandma. [the beautiful oak tree - strong and providing shade (a place to rest) reminds me of my grandma...]
the last line i wrote i always remember:
love reminds me of my grandma

the picture. colored pencils drew an oak tree beside a stream. setting sun, birds, and flowers in green grass.

the poem & artwork were not remarkable... nonetheless, the sentiment, the heartfelt truth is everlasting :)

all of that to say, when i penned that line i knew i wanted to be like my grandma - - i wanted others to think of love when they thought of me. and knowing what i know now, it is all the more true :]

Vicki Munn said...

you are awesome, and i like you.
i can't think of any piece of art exactly that resonated with me, like you with the milk maid. but, all i wanted to do when i was a kid was be in the woods with my critters. i wanted to be laura on little house on the prairie - she lived my ideal life. a homesteader. in a cabin in the country - living a simple life with her little family. that's what i'd like to do someday. i want to be a modern day laura.

Jodi said...

Linda, yes! You said it so well. It's that calm concentration and a holiness that points to God's love. He is always speaking.

Jodi said...

Oh -t-, thank you for taking the time to share this memory. What a tribute to your grandma. As I write this I'm thinking of you with love.

Jodi said...

Vicki, I like you too, Laura.

Julie, awww, shucks.

Beth and Nancy, thank you kindly.

Amy said...

This is lovely. Makes me want to join you and your daughter and share a painting.
I wish I liked cooking, but the dailiness of it often overwhelms me. Plus I joke that my mom never wanted water in the sink. We had to keep it perfectly clean, which can inhibit cooking and creating. Maybe that's why I like your picture so much. She looks at peace in the midst of her work. I want that in the kitchen.

emily wierenga said...

for some reason this makes me cry.

what a warm person you are, jodi. i wish you lived next-door. xo

-t- said...

:) smiles and joy. thank you for your warmth :)

Quotidian Life said...

I was just working on a post sort of like this. I love this painting! And, the Wind and the Willows...ahh!

Misty said...

i wasn't exposed to vermeer at such a young age, and in college when i was, i was tackling feminism w/ glee, but the minute i went to meg's, her home spoke to me, spoke volumes of art and literature in the flour and flowers that made her home home and i realized i never had that growing up and wanted to be that grown up. yes, the longing for simple domesticity caught me off guard but i've embraced it since, and i now have floury fingers and i consider all these boys my garden til i can grow my own.

Amy said...

Do you mind if I link to you and do a similar post? I loved this. . . and it made me think of my own in answer to your question. Plus, I now want a copy of this Vermeer for my kitchen inspiration:)

Jodi said...

Link away my friend. I'm honored that you would want to, and I'm excited to see your post. Yay!

Leslie said...

My mother's art. It was such a part of our daily lives... surrounding us on the walls, flowing over into the shaping of pancakes into bunnies and cookies into hearts. And everything, always, in color (no worries about the dangers of red food coloring back then.)

I'd be willing to bet your kids feel the same about you...

Rachel said...

It is so good to be reading and visiting blogs again. Visiting your blog is like pulling up a chair and having tea and buns and it definitely does make the world a better place! Thanks for your hospitality and now this painting has inspired me to go bake some bread. :-)

Rayanne said...

well first of all, this is a great post, second,
girl...we are so much alike. I too looked through the pages of the Child's World encyclopedia, the art book and found a painting of a homely little girl that I just could not take my eyes off of. I don't have the book any more and I don't remember the artist, but this brings back the memory. good stuff.

Kat said...

This painting is a very favorite of Mama's! She's had it hanging in her kitchen for as long as I can remember. :)

Emily Young said...

I loved that painting when I was little - my mom has a music box with a reprint of it on the top, and I used to gaze at it and wish I could go inside it. Mostly because I thought the bread and milk looked yummy :)

Growing up, I also loved this painting of Jesus from our art book (The Story of Painting):

"Christ and the Woman Taken in Adultery" http://cgfa.acropolisinc.com/g/p-guercin1.htm

I don't really like the painting when it's small, but my book had a huge close-up of Jesus' eyes, and that tiny part of the painting is beautiful. The artist painted so much compassion in them.

And anything Monet. I always wanted to go inside his paintings, too.

Emily Young said...

P.S. We love Mostly Martha too :)

Lisa notes... said...

That’s actually one of the few paintings that I know. Such beautiful humility in it. I love your Wind in the Willows quote!

Val said...

That school of paintings ...really appeal to me and always have,I like the simplicity and the way they make the past become real and not so very different to today, an extract from a book , a description or a poem can make me see the World in a new way too...or those moments when you meet the eyes of a stranger in mutual amusement over some trivial happening...the strongest boost/food for me at the moment is Light ...the Sun is back and oh how different the World looks to me :0)

Jodi said...

Val, I love Vermeer, too, and that school of painters. Vermeer especially because his canvasses glow. I so agree about light. The dark days of winter can depress me, but I can't imagine what it must be like in Alaska. Hoping you have many sunny days ahead.

Jodi said...

Emily, I'm going to check out that painting - thanks for the link. Somehow I knew you all would love Mostly Martha :)

Jodi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jodi said...

Kat, sorry--typo above. I think it's so cool your mom has the same painting. So do I!! I think our family's decorating sensibilities are quite alike :)

Sarah said...

I would have to admit, the art gallery hanging in our hallway moves me. Art created by little fingers dipped in paint and brushes. My children and their creative spunk that lingers on the walls.

Your blog title captivated me and I had to stop by and visit. Delighted to meet you today. Hope you don't mind if I splash around a bit to get to know you a bit more.

Splashin'
Sarah

angelina said...

rachael, i agree. it is so nice to be blog visiting again for me too. jodi, your post is so warm and inspiring, thank you. i love the painting. it reminds me of the old man breaking bread "the lords supper" painting which hung over my grandfathers seat behind him at the dinnertable.
my favorite picture growing up as a child was truly the lady and bluebell boy- quite common and 60's, with her silk flowy dress and bonnet? and the boy dressed in blue silk attire with the long english waistcoat and socks and shoes. :)

Southern Gal said...

My parents had Pinkie and Blue Boy on the living room wall and I always wanted to dress and have a hat like Pinkie. I never understood Blue Boy's attire. Thanks for sending me down memory lane. I hadn't thought of those paintings in such a long time.

Deidra said...

My mom introduced us to art early on. She didn't have great knowledge...just a great appreciation. One of the first works of art I remember loving because of my mom was Andrew Wyeth's painting, Christina's world. As a child, I just remember thinking it would be nice to live in a place where you could sit in a wide open field and still see your house from where you sat. Now I know there may be other - more substantive (?) - themes to that painting. But I live on the Great Plains, now, under a big expanse of sky and I can see for miles and miles. Makes me think of that painting, and the mom who helped me to love it.

Michelle DeRusha@Graceful said...

I've always loved Georgia O'Keeffe -- not sure what that says about me (repressed sexuality or something?!! Those flowers of hers...oh my or my).

Lindsay said...

i love that you and your daughter posted about paintings that inspired you when you were young,
i started thinking of all the paintings that brought back memories of when and where i saw them...
and this is a good one...

Cora from Hidden Riches said...

I so loved this post today! I have so many paintings running through my head, but the one that stands out is the one where the young girl is standing by a tree, a little ways off from the flock. She is holding a new little lamb, and the mother sheep is standing close, looking on. I don't know that I ever wanted to be a shepherdess. But I always wanted to have her heart, to be protective, caring, loving and compassionate. I still have a print of that painting hanging in my home.

Melissa said...

I love this post. It makes me giddy to think of all the things that I could write about in answer to the question! Want to come for tea and just talk about it? How fun would that be!

I love that you quoted Wind in the Willows, because the descriptions there of cozy domesticities are on the [longish]list of what feeds me and my 'art'. Have you seen the WITWs version (abridged, be warned, but what does that matter when there are four different unabridged copies on the shelf) that is illustrated by Inga Moore? Be still my heart!!! Mr. Badger's kitchen is enough to make me faint-headed.

Elizabeth Goudge's descriptions of warm and wonderful kitchens and salt-of-the-earth caretaking people...Mrs. Baker in Scent of Water, the cook in Heart of the Family, the 'pelican breed' kitchen girl in the Dean's Watch.(to name a few.:)) And her kids books! Rapture!

Wait a minute. This is a comment box, and I'm getting very wordy. Maybe I should take some time this week and answer your post with my own...

And yes. My thrift store purchased Vermeer print (a small, cheap one, pasted on a wooden plaque) is still a favorite after all these years. I remember how it nourished me in years of moving and lean times. Still does.

Love and blessings across the miles to you!

Jodi said...

Melissa, you could leave a mile long comment and I'd read it. Haha, we own four copies of WITWs, plus a film made by talkbackThames. Elizabeth Goodge kitchens - always an inspiration. I love Jill from Pilgrim's Inn. I found my copy of Vermeer's Maid at a yard sale. Per usual ;)

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