Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Knitting Girl

Do you pine? I do and it has become something that consumes my mind on a daily basis. Imagining the things I want to achieve, the things I wished I would have achieved, places I'd like to go, people I'd like to see; on and on my synapses fire off signals. The interesting part is how the environment around me can shape my pining. Little things that catch my eye send my mind into a flurry of the "what could be" category of imagination and off I go. Earn this, find that, discover something, reaching it; forever the twisting of my deepest desires flutter about in my head.

I suppose it's human nature to conjure up what ifs and I'll be bold enough to suggest that denying them would be an atrocity to living. Where would we get inspiration? How would be find motivation? Wouldn't we just be insulting on inherent freedoms of existence?

There really isn't one thing that garners the majority of my pining. In fact, on some levels, all of the things I hope to achieve or wish to earn are tied together. For I've discovered I cannot have one thing without adjusting the other things I also want to have. To be rather superficial, let's take the Audi S5 as an example. By and large, this particular vehicle is one of my favorites. It's not too unpractical, it's not super expensive, and the idea that I could someday own one is within reasonable grasp. However, to be able to purchase one, I need to adjust other aspects of my life. Personally and professionally, there needs to be advancement and thus, determination. And there you have it! Pining for the Audi S5 has come full circle and I am now imaging where improvement is needed so I can achieve greater success and therefore buy the car of my dreams.

Silly as this may sound, I still hope it makes sense. Take away the materialistic qualities of the example and you have revealed the emotional connections. Marriage? A family? The ability to experience the world and other cultures? Discovering your genealogical roots? Each one of these desires is tied to an emotional cue which would then require your life to shift on at least two levels. The only responsibility you have left to your heart and mind is to achieve.

The Knitting Girl, by William-Adolphe Bouguereau (1825-1905), is a simple painting of a young female seated next to a tree, knitting and gazing off towards the horizon. At first glance, the piece is extremely realistic and delicately created. The subject's skin is supple and free of blemishes suggesting she comes from at least a modest, middle-class family. Her clothing, however, is rather common and for me, this suggests she may be in the employment of a local seamstress or family friend. Yet the detail and enchanting light pull the viewer to the more important theme of Bouguereau's work: What is she thinking?

I notice her eyes almost immediately. They are sad yet seemingly hopeful. Her hands appear to be busy with her knitting but her face says she's imaging something else. Therefore, this piece is intriguing to me. You have an excellent example of why art is fascinating. Some may wish to indulge the color and precision while others seek to find answers to the suggested evocations. For me, it's the latter and her tender expression makes me wonder, does she want something else? Is she hoping to find more out of life? Where could she be in the recesses of her mind?

Honestly, who doesn't pine? We all have things we do each day that are routine or necessary, and I truly feel it's impossible not to imagine better. It doesn't have to be about what you're doing in the here and now, it could be about things that warm your heart or tickle your fancy. And in each instance, we're able to find reason and hope; to find the vitality we need to push forward and reach new heights. It's not about envy or coveting what others have that you may not. It's about advancing who you are as a person, as a sibling, as a spouse, as a member of society. Pining for what could be is much different than pining for what should be. Making that distinction is important and once averted, then the only challenge left is to reach. How does this painting tie it all together? By implying that to accomplish one's dreams and goals will require meticulous knitting of one's life and emotions. Otherwise, everything will just fall apart.


  1. Your last two lines are so relevant to all of us. I really enjoy all your comments on painting and sculpture. Though you appear not to be someone who is in the art field, you have used art to reflect on life and to connect to so many personal things of meaning to you. It would be so much better if more people learned to do the same rather than dwell on all that is wrong in the world. (I also love your reflections on El Greco and the Nike of Samothrace.)

  2. You are truly too kind, and I genuinely appreciate your words of kindness. Thank you! What you've shared is inspiring, even to the point that I'm contemplating doing a new blog about a piece of art. That says a lot. My sincerest hope that you continue to find inspiration through inspiring works of art.