The Scent of a Painting

“Out of all the senses, smell is considered the most unique because most people cannot describe it easily using words and because it is the strongest sense of memory. Just a single inhale of a certain scent immediately evokes feelings and emotions from when the person first experienced the scent.

“… most people cannot describe it easily using words….”

Or paint.

Painters depend heavily on their ability to stimulate our eyes to create an emotional response to a painting. It was interesting, therefore, to experience my own response to one of Rick’s most recent paintings.

Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t love crawling into a bed made with clean sheets that have been dried in the sunshine, heat, and wind?

“Clothesline-Dried Fresh!”

Why isn’t there a perfume, or even just a laundry detergent that captures that scent? And what if a painting could?

I’m not talking about a  “scratch-’n-sniff” experience, but rather a “see-’n-catch a scent that makes you remember something really wonderful in your life, maybe when you were the happiest so far.”

Was this the little back bedroom that Gramma always had set up with four cots and line-fresh sheets: one for you, one for your sister, and two for those crazy, wonderful cousins from the East Coast that you couldn’t wait to see every summer?

Or was this the bedroom with the soft double bed and flowered sheets that waited for you, cool and safe and clean, to crawl into straight out of the shower with wet hair, sun-kissed cotton pajamas smelling of the lavender laundry soap she used, and the gentle tingle of freshly bronzed skin?

She always let you leave the door open so you could fall asleep to the filtered light from the bathroom across the hall and the sounds of adults laughing and scratching in the kitchen, sharing their generations of love over a game of Hearts and accusations of outrageous cheating, quickly forgiven.

The cool, slightly damp stone taste of air in a cement basement in summer…

… the woody, warm, dusty fragrance of a well-kept attic…

These are a few of the aromas that resonate fondly with many.

What about you? What aroma from your past would you love to hang on your wall?

4 thoughts on “The Scent of a Painting

  1. Cousin Susan

    Just read this Kathy. Lovely as always. And I must add my two scents (ok, one). To this day, a bar of Ivory soap takes me back to the bathroom at grandma and grandpa’s old house. I can close my eyes and imagine every curve of that old claw foot tub. Happy, happy.

  2. DebD

    The smell of the lake. The forest on a HOT day. Books, sharpened pencils and paper at the end of August. Any and all new shoes.

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