Hi friends, I hope you are well! We are thawed out here with the snow mostly gone, and it’s going to be 65 degrees today. We didn’t escape totally unscathed, as some of our plumbing didn’t enjoy the freezing temperatures. We are now waiting for a new water to be installed as the cold seems to have inspired ours to spring a leak and start crying all over the basement (I can understand!) But we have had it so much easier than so many. Still thinking of all my friends in Texas. I know this has been so very hard. Sending love to you!
Today I have something good to share with you though, finished up in the midst of all the chaos of the weather, something nice to focus on to rest my mind. Inspired by my favorite Jane Austen novel “Emma”, I present you with “Emma and Harriet!” This original painting is also freshly listed in my etsy shop, and I’ll have prints soon as well.
I was mulling over what it is about “Emma” that makes it my prefered story. And I’m not entirely sure, although it was the first Austen I read, so there may be a sentimental pull. Also, my granny’s name was Emma, so there’s that. But as I thought about it this morning, I think what I like about this story is that it is just as much about friendship as it romance, and in fact it is friendship that leads to Emma’s own romance in the end. Emma is wealthy, she does what she pleases, she is already mistress of a wonderful home in her own right. I think what I enjoy about Emma and Mr. Knightley’s love is that there is no other reason for it but— love. Unlike Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility there is no underlying current of “you must marry or you’ll be destitute.” This is not an issue for Emma, in fact, getting married may actually ask more of her in sacrifice than any other Austen heroine. But she— and we— find that it is worth it and, of course, it all works out in the end!
“Emma” is also very much about female friendships– how to handle changes when our dearest friends have big changes in their life, how to exert good– or bad– influence over our friends, and the complicated things that can happen when you try to interfere in other people’s lives. Harriet Smith and Emma Woodhouse’s friendship is one of great transformation and is one of my favorite elements in the story. In the beginning, Emma is the ultimate ‘influencer’ and Harriet is dazzled by her. In the end, Emma comes to see that Harriet possesses attributes that she admires and Harriet learns to stand up for herself and chose her own path.
Over the years there have been several movie adaptations of “Emma”, and thus Emma’s relationship with Harriet. Who is your favorite “Emma” of the silver screen, and which “Emma and Harriet” do you prefer? Although I very much enjoyed the latest version of Emma, the version with Romola Garai by the BBC will always remain my favorite. I think by now I’ve seen it— what, 50 times maybe? And that pairing of actresses that play Emma and Harriet are my favorite as well. In other adaptations, they tend to make Harriet more dowdy and plain and over the top silly, but that’s not who she is. She is simple, yes, but she also is naturally pretty and has a lovely personality.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about Emma and Harriet, their relationship and if you have a favorite movie pairing! My painted girls have their own looks and personality, and I hope you like them as well! I’ve painted them looking at the romantic poems and riddles for their ‘little book’. Harriet is looking at Mr. Elton’s riddle and trying to solve it, but Emma, of course, knows the meaning.
If you’re interested in this original painting, you can find it now in my etsy shop! It’s good to be painting again.