Happiness comes in the fall

Medium: Oil Size: 20 # 16 inches Framed Size: 22 # 18 inches

A sharp-eyed Ukrainian would pick out the detail of this picture. In the background is a log house typically in use in the Carpathian Mountains – even today—and its small window hints of the architecture that hoards heat in the long, cold winters. Ukraine’s rich, black soil made it the breadbasket of the Soviet Union so that life revolves around planting and harvest. That meant that, with harvest finished, young maidens turn their attention to suitors and marriage, often in September and October. Maidens weave wreaths of wild flowers and berries to enhance their allure. This maiden’s hair follows tradition – covered, long, braided and elsewhere tied with ribbon. Short hair would be suspect and scandalous in this culture. The berries framing her eyes come from Viburnum bushes, which grow only near water, hinting of a mountain stream. The orange flowers grow near the house and are dried, spread and used to bring life and aroma to the winter gloom. A large, colorful scarf covers the shoulders, reaffirming a culture of painstaking craftsmanship – and pride.