Temperature in the picture
It is still cold these week. When the freezing weather continues, it becomes difficult to wake up tired in the morning and makes you want to be lazy.
Especially, I keep an image that comes to mind on a cold day. It is an image of a Wood Fireplace that is burning brightly.
Above photo is a wood fire made by the landlord who helped the poor tenants with kindness and warm heart in Germany. When we first had to find a house, we were fortunate. Although most people live in rental houses in Germany, the supply is low compared to demand, and landlords are reluctant to rent, making it difficult for tenants to find a home.
When we search for rental house in Germany, we need to call the house owner listed on the rental section of the local newspaper, make a visit, and even interview you. Probably, nowadays the tenants will search them and contact to owners online site. The homeowner check whether you have a pet, smoke, how stable your finances are, and whether you have children in the interview. Some homeowners told us that they can give us priority, if we can renovate floor instead of owner. If you frequently experience these kinds of interviews, the hardships of life as an immigrant will be accelerated. Occasionally, some owners frowned at the children we were tagged along. If tenants bring their children in interview, their chance will be decrease to be a good tenants. They think that children make messy and broken a part of their property. Of course, there was no answer such as sensitive owners.
In this situation, the house owner we met for the first time was nice and had a beautiful mind for tenants. He had worked as a engineering soldier repairing airplanes in Busan during the Korean War and showed infinite kindness to us as Koreans. The kindness of him and his wife is such that there is not enough time to write everything within a day.
At that time, I realized that the word "thank you" was such a short and poor expression, so I started studying various expressions of gratitude in English again.
They often invited us home. Whenever we visited the house on a cold day, they made a wood fire for freezing people to keep it warm. I knew then that people's hearts are warmer than wood fires. Impressed by the warmth, I took the picture to preserve the moment. But when I think about it, I think I did a good job taking pictures. Because looking at the image on a cold day, the warmth of that time comes to mind.
The same goes for pictures. On a physical canvas, there is a painting where various brush strokes create such a warm temperature. I know the artist who made a picture like that. Probably most people know him and his works.
It is the woman sewing next to Jean-François Millet's lamp.
A woman is sewing by yellowish and bright lamplight. Under the warm light, her baby is sleeping peacefully. The bright, warm yellow paint gives the overall temperature of this painting. It seems that the house is poor enough that she has to turn on her lantern and sew even when the baby is sleeping. But her mother, who is concentrating on her needlework, doesn't look hard and tired. Baby, this has become a daily routine, and she sleeps well under the light of a bright lamp. How happy would the baby be to watch her mom before she sleeps with her squint eyes open?
When I look at this picture, I particularly remember my father's stories, who passed away.
When my father was young, Korea had to lead a devastating life after the war, and it was a poor and tragic time when it was difficult to run the country itself without the support of other countries.
At the time, most Korean used to turn on the lamps in every house. My father said he read and studied under this lamp. Children wanted to read more books, but the oil in the light ran out, and they couldn't read any more.
The poor children had no money to buy textbooks to study at school, so they should copy the textbooks under the lamplight and use them. The lamp stories that my father told me in this poverty were varied.
Sometimes it was sad and sometimes unfamiliar, but there were some peaceful scenery that children are sitting next to my mother, with playing by lamplight. When I heard my father's story, my heart ached at my father's poor situation and the people around him who suffered the severe poverty at the time. But when my father told me about the lamp, it was a poor and difficult time, but it seemed to become a childhood memories.
So is Millet's painting. It is deplorable to be poor, cold and hungry. For this reason, the painters preferred to paint nobles life in beautiful decorations, flowers, and colorful dresses rather than such a shabby and sad scene. However, Millet captured this simple family with his warm eyes instead of drawing the rich family's the fancy life.
He was passed away in a poverty, even though he made a successful debut at the 33-year-old salon exhibition and the french government purchased his paintings. He kept going to paint humble family rather than chase the trendy painting. Most of all he did not stop capturing the lives of the poor and simple commoners.
Thanks to his sincerity and warm heart for his art, we seems to be receiving warmth and comfort through his paintings. Van Gogh, who had a different style but had the same spirit, would redraw his pictures as a sign of respect for Millet.
Perhaps the perfect love that Millet and Van Gogh envisioned was at the table of ordinary people, the baby sleeping by the lamp, the people gathered by the stove, and the sweat of the peasant plowing the fields? He seems to have painted a picture because he wanted to keep and convey this warmth for a long time. It's like looking at old photos and cherishing the warmth and gratitude.
Seeing his paintings makes me want to paint warm, soft, and calm portraits. It's the opposite of my drawing style, which constantly moves vigorously, but seeing a picture like this gives me a strong motivation.
I drew the picture below for the first exhibition such as the same spirit and strong motivation.
One day, I visited a small church in a village, and there was a large candlelit and a note on the wall with countless wishes. Perhaps those contents were prayers. That scene gave me an indescribable warmth and hope. I had same experience. One day, I also went into the hospital's prayer room before my child was under the surgery. In the small dark room, I found the notes with wishes written down. I remembered that mothers wrote down prayers for the health and recovery of their children and pasted them on the wall. Of course, I also wrote and pasted it, hoping that the surgery would go well. For those sad and desperate for something, this kind of warmth is absolute. I wanted to capture that absolute light and temperature. And I used it as a cover picture for the first exhibition.
It is a rather humble and rustic painting, but it is precious to me.
There are always more unsuccessful, poor and weak people than successful, rich, healthy people in the world. It means that the world still needs a lot of warmth and unwavering encouragement. Perhaps that is why painters like Millet, who was warm-hearted and mature, who were well aware of this life process and philosophy, paint warm yellow in their way and show them to their descendants.
Thank you for being able to see those pictures in a cold day.
Myungja Anna Koh