Here is another sweet painting by Besse Pease Gutmann, who ranks right up there with Norman Rockwell as one of my all-time favorite artists. The fact that I am drawn to the works of these two American illustrators with greater enthusiasm than I am to the works of some of the world-renowned artists whose paintings are showcased in important museums--those of say, van Gogh, for example--means that I would by no stretch of the imagination be considered a serious art critic. But I just know what I like; and I really like heartwarming vintage artwork such as this Gutmann painting titled "Happy Dreams."
I chose this painting today because to me, there's nothing sweeter and more angelic-looking than a sleeping baby or small child--especially when he's clutching a well-loved teddy bear, as this wee one is doing. I also chose it because it makes me think of my son and his wife, whose lives these days very much revolve around the needs and schedules of their almost-five-month-old twin daughters. The girls are sleeping through the night most of the time now, which is huge. Anyone who's ever had children can appreciate what a victory that is, because at the end of a long and tiring day of caring for little darlings, bedtime is a joyfully anticipated reprieve for exhausted parents. And sometimes the battle to achieve the angelic state depicted in this painting can be long and arduous, because babies and toddlers don't seem to grasp the fact that sleep is wonderful, like we old folks do. (What is wrong with them?)
Yet no matter how tiring and frustrating a parent's day has been, when he gazes at the face of his sleeping child at night, his heart invariably turns to mush. Because no matter how many naughty things he might have done that day, a child morphs into an angel when he falls asleep.