Christina’s World

One of the most exciting parts about becoming a Mainer is all of the exploring I get to do. A few weeks ago I decided to go to Rockland, a small coastal town, for the first time. I began my day at a local coffee shop, browsed a bookstore and then went to an art museum. I was surprised at the $12 entrance fee, but I walked around, nodding to the paintings, thinking this is… nice.

Later in the day I drove to another bookstore and looked at the Staff Picks section. I noticed a book called, A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline. “Oh!” I thought, “this is on my nightstand right now!” Halfway through the inside blurb, I stopped reading. My breath caught and my eyes widened. I knew this book is based on a painting called Christina’s World by Andrew Wyeth, but what surprised me then, was that I had been looking at Andrew Wyeth’s paintings all day!  How did I miss this? How did I not make this connection?

I immediately got in my car and drove back to the museum. This time I spent ages in the 2 galleries dedicated to Andrew Wyeth’s work. These paintings were no longer just nice, they drew me in. And there she was- Christina. Even though the actual Christina’s World painting is in MoMa in NYC, there were some sketches and paintings of her.

But my day gets even better. On my drive home I smiled thinking about my bookish adventure when a sign caught my eye. It said “Olsen House 9 miles.” Wait, wait, wait I thought. This can’t be the same Olsen as Christina Olsen- as in the girl in Andrew Wyeth’s painting? Is the same house as the cover of that book? Could this really be happening?

Obviously I turned left and drove the 9 miles to the coast. The rural roads zigzagged. Cell service disappeared and Google Maps just about gave up. The road crested a hill when I saw it. The brown colonial house facing the sea. I drove down the dirt road and parked. I got out and didn’t see anyone. It really was an eerie silence. I could almost see Christina laying in the grass right where I stood. I was transported into Andrew Wyeth’s painting. It filled my head with questions. What was she like? How did she feel?


Thank you Christina Baker Kline for writing that novel to answer my questions. It felt like it was written just for me.

My story gets even better, but I’ll save that for another slice!



3 thoughts on “Christina’s World

  1. Cindy, I already knew this story but you wrote it so well that it felt new to me, or enriched somehow. I love how you wrote “…nice” when describing your first experience at the Farnsworth. That simple ellipsis with the well chosen “nice” conveyed so much. I also love how you wrote about zigzagging down those back roads to the Olsen house. With Google maps giving up and cell service dropping off, you totally captured that sense of isolation? timelessness? Such a fantastic slice! I haven’t yet made it to the Olsen farmhouse, but intend to this spring or summer. I’ll have to tuck in a visit to the Farnsworth as well. You’ve also reminded me about a Wyeth moment I might just slice about…thanks!


  2. Wow! What a beautiful day of getting lost in a painting and finding yourself in someone else’s world! This is a fantastic slice that makes me want to go on adventure and explore what others have seen and experienced.

    Liked by 1 person

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