Relate To Others Confidently - Body Language in Art Wellbeing Tour


The Letter

  • Look at the woman in the painting. What do you think the letter contains? Who might it be from?
  • Look at her expression and posture. Does the artist give you any clues about what she’s feeling as she reads? What do you think this tells us?


What comments did this painting attract from those on the Unspoken course?

“There are no shadows, which is curious, and no perspective. This makes you look closer, harder.”

“Very ordinary, mundane and yet…”

“She’s self-contained. She’s completely absorbed by the letter, giving it all her attention but you can tell from the way her hand rests in her lap that her body is relaxed. She looks calm but not sad. This painting is about this woman’s inner life which is by its nature a mystery to the observer.”




Above you can see recreations of this painting, using a variety of slightly changed poses.

  • Choose one of the new poses and look closely at how the model is sitting. What might this say about what she is feeling? What news is she reading in the letter? 
Write your version of this letter.


What next?

  • Write a letter to yourself that you will open on a set date in the future. You may want to take a short trip of three or six months or a larger leap of years into the future!
    Write about:
    What you hope to have achieved by the time you read this letter. 
Your predictions of what your life might be like at this point in the future. 
Anything you are finding difficult at the moment and how you think it might be resolved in the future.
  • When you have finished your letter put it in an envelope with a do not open until the date you have written on it. Keep it somewhere you will find it again and put a note on a calendar, diary, phone or computer to remind you when the time arrives


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