Saturday, May 2, 2009


As you probably know, I went garage saling with my mom and my older sister Shari this past week. (Chrissy joined us for a couple hours too). That is another post for another day. Truthfully, I couldn't find my camera before I left and it's not as great of a story without the pictures.

I found this print at a garage sale for $1.50. It's a little rough, but I've always wanted it. We had it in our house growing up, as did many of you likely. I've always wanted it in my home. And the price was right.

As I was walking to my car, a woman stopped me. She was a customer like me and pointed to the picture I had just purchased. Here is our conversation:

Woman: Did you have this picture in your house when you were a kid?
Me: Yep!
Woman: Do you know what this book is? [pointing to the book on the table in the painting]
Me: Um. I guess it's the Bible.
Woman: Nope. It's a dictionary.
Me: Really?
Woman: Yep. I watched a special on it. And this guy [pointing to the old man] - he's an atheist.
Me: Oh, really? [standing there, puzzled, uncomfortable.]
Woman: A lot of people don't know that. [Walks away]

I went to my car disturbed. I'm still not sure what her purpose was. Originally, I thought she was being hateful, that she wanted to spoil my experience. Now I don't think so. I think she was just a know-it-all.

And she was wrong.

Of course I researched the history of this painting. According to everything I can find, it is a painting of a photograph taken by Eric Enstrom (from Minnesota, no less), and the man is indeed praying. I do not know whether that is a bible or a dictionary, but it is not important to me. Regardless, this art, like all other pieces, is subjective. It can be whatever I choose it to be.
When I look at it now, I still feel nostalgic. And happy. Even though I really really really wish I would see that woman again to tell her the truth. Alas, it's not about that. So I'll transfer my energy into finding somewhere to hang it up.

God's grace to you.


Cory said...

Ptttbbbb! To the woman at the garage sale.

Julie L. said...

We had that picture in our kitchen growing up as well..... my brother and his family have the house and the picture now.... hanging in the same place. I would love to find one for us.

Elizabeth said...

Even if you told her, she likely wouldn't believe you. She saw a special. :) You can let her be happy in her knowledge that she shared something she learned. And you can be happy with the knowledge that the painting does indeed represent what you thought it did when you bought it. :)

Art is subjective. In the end, it doesn't really matter what the artist intended - it matters what it means to you. [Which is why I still love my oil on canvas that I painted - even though no one else likes it. I just figure they don't have the same good taste. ;) ]

MindiJo said...

Phooey on her. I couldn't see what she claimed anyway. I see a man praying.

Julie said...

I love that picture as well and found one a couple years ago! I'm glad that meaning of the artpiece was what you thought it was. :) Another artist did a similar one that matched but was of a woman praying (saying grace) and I considered getting it as well for awhile.

Anonymous said...

Just had to share..I've seen everybody post their blogspot sites and I've never looked..till now :) Your's was the first and I'm not going to get sucked in right now, but I did read this one b/c of course I too loved this print and still want it..just haven't found the right price like you did :)

I say phooey to the gall too..what nerve?! (Shirls)

andy said...

Good work, Leanne. And way to defend art. You got me interested and I found out that the original photograph is our official STATE PHOTOGRAPH. See: My grandparents also had/have it on their wall and I wouldn't doubt if it's one of the most popular pieces of artwork in Minnesota from a Folk Art perspective...and state perspective, as well.

Krizzie said...

ditto here as well, it was on our wall at home too but I don't have my own copy yet.

it matters what it means to you but I think most of us will believe he is praying. whether it be a dictionary or a bible doesn't matter. If it's a dictionary he might be praying to learn how to read or for understanding.

It gave you comfort and reminds you of home so that is God's grace.