There’s a painting in my father’s library, on the wall near the computer, of a misty forest morning. There’s a house in the background. The sun is rising or it’s setting, but the light is reflected off the mist in the background and it’s pink and purple and a little orange. The foreground is a green-blue and dark. The leaves of the trees seem mossy almost, and hang down. The shrubs don’t seem to have a lot of leaves and reach up out of the mist like fingers. The painting’s color is predominantly blue. It’s a cool painting, both because of the color temperature and because it’s kind of creepy and kind of serene at the same time.
So who lives in that house in the background? Technically, I think the painting was done by my grandfather, and the house was his house at 438 High Street in Lockport NY, but for the sake of creative writing we’ll go with the “who lives in that house?” I have no idea who lives in the actual house now, or even if the house and the woods around it are still standing.
Maybe that’s smoke and it’s early morning, and the ground looks so misty because there’s been a frost. It could be winter, which would explain the shrubs and some of the trees not having leaves. Maybe it’s fall. October-ish.
Back to the house. It’s white and probably two stories. One can only see the top windows and the peaked roof through the trees. The light of the painting is coming from behind the house, so the shadows are coming at the viewer.
It is a painting that one could step in to.
There is a long history of stories that have artwork that leads to different places. Stepping into a painting was made a classic by Roger Zelazny. In his Amber series, the hero Corwin is saved from jail by the mad Dworkin, who’s magical. Corwin convinces the dwarf to draw a scene of the Lighthouse of Cabra on the wall of his cell using the sharpened end of a spoon. Dworkin agrees, and Corwin uses the last of his matches to view the scene and escape through it. There had to be light to see by and activate the magic. The Amber series is awesome and I highly recommended. Now that 3D and computer imaging are so advanced, it could make a really good movie – or a series of movies. There are 6 original Amber books (I think), and then another 6 (maybe 4) books about Son of Corwin, and then 2 or 3 books by Zelazny’s son about pre-Corwin. I haven’t read those yet (and have them on my ever growing list of books to read).
Besides the Amber series, another classic “magic in the painting” story is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
There is another book, which I though was called Still Life, but I can’t find it on Google and of course, the author’s name escapes me. It was about a painting that had a demon in it. It was set in San Francisco, and it was sort of a mystery. The authors name is Diana G something. She has written a few books about a rock band and her hero in those stories has MS, and she’s written a few books about traditional music. And I can’t believe that I don’t remember her name. We’ve even communicated by email. Sigh. This aging stuff…you know. I’ll get back to you with more details on this.
Anyway…[note to self] pick a picture and imagine. Who lives there? What’s around that corner? What’s behind that bush? what time of day, what season is it? And go.