Friday, October 21, 2011

A Place to Call Home

There’s such a sweet story behind this painting, and I’d love to share it with you. It’s about the excitement of starting a life together and finding a place to call home.

A Place to Call Home, 14" x 20", by Leslie Fehling

I received a call one day last spring from a nice young man who wondered if I could do some custom artwork for him. He had an old black and white photo that he wanted me to turn into a watercolor painting to give to his fiancée as a wedding gift.

I was excited and honored to take the job, and as I painted, I wondered about the people who had lived on that farm in the 1800s, and what life was like for them. I smiled when I thought about this painting of mine hanging in a new home on the same land, and how it would become a part of this young couple’s family.

Detail of farm house

I thought it was such an interesting story of how he had found the old photo, and I asked him to share it with you. Here it is, in his own words:

      I wanted to give something special to my fiancée for a wedding present.  I thought about making bookshelves or getting her some fancy old book, but I finally decided on some kind of painting, but I wasn’t sure of the subject matter.
      At the same time, we were in the process of purchasing our first piece of land.  The property is part of an old farm near Graysville. While researching the property boundaries, we came across an old picture, on, of what the property used to look like.  It was a great old photo, taken nearly 150 years ago, of an old farm house, four barns, and miles of fencing, none of which are still there today.  Where there are fields in the picture, there now stand many trees, and only one worn out house remains, and it isn’t even pictured. 

     When we first saw this photo, I thought nothing about it, but when brainstorming for a painting idea, this popped into my head.  It was our first property.  It was going to be the place where we were going to build our home.
      The picture on the web site wasn’t the best.  It was faded, so you could not make out many of the objects.  So, I looked up who posted the picture, found her name in the White Pages online, and gave her a call.  She turned out to be a descendant of Thomas Gray, the person who had owned our land and for whom the town of Graysville is named. She was dedicated to tracing her family tree.  Just months before, she had visited Greene County in search of this property, but had been unable to find it.  She was happy enough just to find the town that her family had started.  After a conversation that lasted a good twenty minutes, she took my address and sent out a better copy of the picture, along with a letter.

Detail of foliage and fence

      I was thrilled to get the picture in the mail, because there was so much more that I could see in it.  Now I could make out animals, gardens and a couple of people that before were just smudges.  
      Now I needed to find a person to paint it.  The only place I know that does anything with painting is Artisans, the art gallery on High Street near the court house.  I went up there, talked to the person in charge, and after a couple minutes looking at the work of several different artists, I made my decision. Leslie’s style appealed to me, and I thought she would do a great job with the subject matter.
Detail of barn, garden, and orchard
     A couple of months later, after our rehearsal dinner, my wife and I met in our apartment to say one last good bye before the big day, and to exchange our gifts.  I was a little nervous, but she opened it, she liked it, and gave me a big smile and a hug. I was happy, and couldn’t have asked for anything more.  We now have something to hang on our wall and a story to tell for a long, long time.

Detail of tree and fence

Now, isn't that a nice story? And I think she's one lucky girl to have found such a sweet, thoughtful man.

If you have an idea for some custom artwork, just drop me an email using the "Contact" button at the top of the page. I'd love to talk with you about some of the possibilities.


  1. The painting is absolutely wonderful. You did a remarkable job of bringing life to a black and white photo. What a lovely story to go with it. I hope that young woman understands she has a real keeper there!

  2. Amen to that, Suz - he's such a sweetie!


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