"In the Secret Garden", 16x20, oil on linen
When I was a little girl, I read a lot. Those hours that i spent with books were some the happiest times of my childhood. I, along with countless other girls my age, were hooked on The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew series. I couldn't read fast enough, and the fact that I developed bad eyesight from reading in bed during a nasty bout of measles is a testament to the fact that I couldn't stop reading, even when my mother told me not to. One book that I read as a child and cherished, was "The Secret Garden", by By Frances Hodgson Burnett. In the story, Mary Lennox, a spoiled little ten-year-old girl, is orphaned by the plague in India and sent from India to England to live in a big, lonely house on the Yorkshire moors with her unpleasant uncle. Here she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden, in a powerful story of compassion and friendship.
My son also had a lead in the musical version of "The Secret Garden" about ten years ago and I seem to recall that there was a movie version of the classic, as well.
I do believe that I was thinking of that old favorite book of mine when I painted this scene, as it is straight out of fantasyland, with the locked gate and the little girl with the swirling hair.
Usually it is very important to paint from life. But sometimes it's also fun to paint from what's in your heart and imagination. I think everyone should have their own Secret Garden in which they can wander when times get tough. What do you think?