So, hmm. . . .
I like the stairway. Reminds me of something Hobbiton would have.
The old man strikes me as a natural for a mentor. But then, he might be constrained to be a hero. (Turning things on their head often makes for better stories.) If the young men or even young women were taken out by the Evil Wizard as his obvious foes, the youngest prince, still in the nursery, might come stalking along the street to hunt him down as the only unenchanted wizard. Or he might have set out on his own. He looks dejected enough for that.
Or maybe it's the woman who's stirring up the fire. My muse doesn't find her inspiring; dismisses her as a servant.
For those who are not afraid that the title would trap the muse:[Spoiler (click to open)]Rembrandt's Philosopher in Meditation
And here's another
Less overt potential for conflict there. An ending image, I would almost think. Still, even the denouement can sometimes inspire the rest of the story -- I notice that the trees are birches, which are swift growing trees that move in after distribance, such as fire. A story about a blight that has to be broken.
Having children would also be the logical consequence of breaking such a curse.
(The title is [Spoiler (click to open)]Carl Larsson's Spring_Princess)
And here's a third
More obviously mentorish than the first, what with all the symbolism -- the cupid, blindfolded, adorned with roses over a blazing lamp, the death's head, adorned with poppies over a quenched lamp, two golden butterflies to symbolize the soul -- this woman is one you consult with all due respect. Probably a priestess.
(The title is [Spoiler (click to open)]Dante Gabriel Rossetti's "Sibylla Palmifera".)
Part of bittercon