Picture For A Tourist

I was nineteen years old when I moved out of home to live on my own. I had been kicked out of home a couple of years earlier, but that is a different story and probably one that will never see the light of day here. Come to think of it, I am not even sure I have told my husband. However, I am digressing.

When I moved out of home I really wanted to have nice things around me. Things that were different what was in the shops. I needed to own things to make me feel secure and stable. The trouble is, when you have no money and want to purchase items you really have to be a little resourceful. I think that is when I really started to go to second hand market stalls. For truly it is there that the trash that people throw out, really does become another person’s treasure. Many, many hours I have spent trawling through trestle tables laden with people’s lives.

One of the things I remember buying was this souvenir oil painting.

It is small. Only about 2 inches by 4 inches. On the back of it is a sticker that says “Hand Painted in Greece”.

I cannot tell you how much I love this painting.

Certainly I do not know enough about art to say if it is good or not. But I have spent many collective hours looking at the simple picture.

I wonder about who bought it. It is probably from the late 60’s to early 70’s. The timber that the painting is glued on has a certain colour to it that is indicative of that era. The chamfer on the legs that support it suggest the 60’s.

Was it a woman who bought it? Was she on one of those popular cruises that stop off at different places and give people enough time for a bus tour and a souvenir stop. Did she buy it from a stall that had rows and rows of the same painting? Or did she buy it from a handsome and swarthy young Greek man who gave her a smile and tempted her to part with money for his small effort. Then when she went, he took another one out from under the table ready for the next woman on holiday.

When she took it home, did she take it out and look at it and remember the warm, sunny day that she bought it? Did she think of the hot sun in the blue sky shining down on her making her squint behind her white framed sunglasses?

Did her children take it down to the market when she died? Did her holiday mean anything to them? Did she ever tell them about it.

I could ask ten thousand questions about this painting. In fact, I could ask so many questions about anything I have bought from a second hand stall and only silence comes back to me. So I like to imagine.

This painting may have ended it’s life in one home, but I resurrected it and gave it a new life with me.

It does not matter if the story I attach to it is true or not. By not being able to tell me anything, it keeps an air of mystery.



8 thoughts on “Picture For A Tourist

  1. We purchase a great deal of art from charity shops and thrift stores. They’re not particularly expensive, not worth much, not famous necessarily (though original) and I do the same thing as you. I wonder who painted them, what they were like, who owned them first, why they ended up in the shop – did someone die? I too, spend ages just looking at them. One of my favourites is an oil painting in lovely autumnal shades featuring a charming farmhouse on a pond. The sky is a beautiful shade of blue and the whole scene is pastoral and idyllic – sort of French. I adore it. Art really touches the soul, no matter where it comes from or who created it.Kat


  2. Bunny: Thank you. Kat: The whole process of ownership is something I struggle with. That things exchange hands so often and the story of the life is lost really disturbs me. Maybe that is why I post. When I am gone, and all my things are sold at the trash and treasure, will my little life being somewhere in blogland for someone to stumble upon? Will that make my existence valid?NV: Maybe because you know that inert objects can hold a great deal of life within.


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