Dancing Flames Watercolor










Sharing space but nothing else

First I found this painting from Belmiro de Almeida (how, why, I don’t remember).

Wondered about what happened in this couple. She cries or at least is weighed down, but by what? And this man is smoking, thinking, probably powerless/helpless, but who knows? Maybe he’s angry? “Here we go again…”.

Is it a break up, a betrayal, jealousy, boredom, romantic disappointment?

Maybe like in Chekhov, it’s just some tears, because of the “something’s lacking in my life” syndrome?

My researches showed me the second painting : a crying woman, a “vacant look” man, and flowers on the ground. Mhhh, who copied the other?

Then I thought about Hopper, of course, with no tears but only a… moment.

I remember that some (female) friends of mine told me many times than their guy “wasn’t really talkative”.

Thus I remembered the “bored couples” series, photographed by Martin Parr – who is a love because he includes himself in the series (he is on two photos of the four I found for you). Parr showed many times he’s a part of what he sees…


So is it even an article? No I don’t think so! I cobbled these together :

  1. To remember I should find more paintings on this topic (I tried and failed today)
  2. To think about the idea I found in the Parr link : monogamy is maybe dumb
  3. To remember that my lady likes my random lectures (I’m a chatterbox)
  4. To go on liking the “what happens here?” in Arts
  5. What if a man was crying, and a woman sitting aside, indifferent?
  6. To remember I have to take care of my partner, even if she’s a real “handful”
  7. To pass it on to you : what ideas did you get, reading this?


Take care! Have a nice day!








Bored Couples on Display in Public Places

“The Unhinger” : Manet’s Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe (1863) is a MESS

Nowadays it’s almost impossible to understand the scandal and the revolution caused by Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe, The Luncheon on the Grass, by Edouard Manet – which sounds totally harmful today, right? This painting is today in the Musée d’Orsay, in Paris.

It was a groundbreaker in three areas. And it stays an enigma, a source of endless books, articles and suppositions.


  1. We don’t understand the reason why this woman is naked with two men. “The presence of a nude woman among clothed men is justified neither by mythological nor allegorical precedents”.
  2. She seems a normal woman, not the aerial nymph or goddess you normally see when you see a naked body in a painting. This “realistic” approach has never been seen before.
  3. She watches the audience, she watches YOU, we wonder : “Is she challenging or accepting the viewer, looking past the viewer, engaging the viewer, or even looking at the viewer at all?”.
  4. She doesn’t listen to the talking guy. She doesn’t care. She cares of you.
  5. Manet has been considered an awful painter, because of the perspective mistakes (though he studied all of it for almost 10 years with a great teacher)… all this is made on purpose :
  6. Like in Japanese etchings, the lady in the middle is too big according to the perspective laws. “Too large in comparison with the figures in the foreground, she seems to float above them”. There’s a flatness, which is like a game for your eyes.
  7. Manet displayed the painting at the Salon des Refusés, an alternative salon established by those who had been refused entry to the official one. The public liked to come and laugh, ununderstanding crowd.
  8. “The roughly painted background lacks depth, giving the viewer the impression that the scene is not taking place outdoors, but in a studio”. De facto, even the light looks like “studio“. It fake, not “gorgeous nature”.
  9. The fruits and the dress are painted in a great talented way, but the trees and the natural environment are painted differently : you see the brush strokes. Impressionism is coming.
  10. Therefore it seems unfinished on several parts of the scene.
  11. The painting is TALL – 81.9 x 104.1 inches (208 by 264.5 cm), which is unusual for this “genre” painting. Usually, tall paintings are used for biblical or mythological subjects.
  12. There are no “subtle gradations” between colors (though the painter perfectly knows how to do this), and Manet has been accused to “see in blocks”.
  13. We can wonder if these people are lovers, swingers. Or maybe she’s a hooker?
  14. It’s like casually based (gestures, dispositions) on old masters painters. Manet studied them a lot. Raphael’s Judgment of Paris is an example.
  15. Oppositions are many between her and them : feminine/masculine, light/dark, naked/dressed.
  16. Described as idiotic, childish, shocking and incoherent by the newspapers. Good to them!
  17. This sounds not sincere, but analytical, a game, an enigma, a puzzle for your mind.
  18. Indecency : “vulgar men” painting nude women.
  19. Manet himself jokingly nicknamed his painting “la partie carrée“.
  20. “Refusal to conform to convention and his initiation of a new freedom from traditional subjects and modes of representation – can perhaps be considered as the departure point for Modern Art.”
  21. Subject is shocking. Style and treatment are shocking.
  22. “She is not ashamed of being naked as she gazes confidently at us”.
  23. The model was known (Victorine Meurent, who was a painter) and the guys are Manet’s brothers. Scandal in the French Academy!
  24. Works like this made Manet the father of impressionism. You can also study “Olympia” and the fabulous “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère“. In both paintings, the woman gazes. At you.
  25. Manet unhinged, damaged the whole history of paintings with this one…


Thanks for reading!




You’ll find dozens other ideas everywhere on the web. This artist is an infinite source of thinking. Also : parodies (some are hilarious!).

It inspired other painters like Monet – who dit a “correct” and gorgeous version (comparing both could be a whole article). It so beautiful (Manet and Monet, who was younger, were friends), but it’s for you eyes, not for thinkers…

Have a nice day!




James Tissot, French painter and illustrator.

Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836 – 1902), Anglicized as James Tissot, was a French painter and illustrator.


A “genre painter”, as they say : a painter of “elegantly dressed women shown in scenes of fashionable life”. He lived in England for years, and became pretty rich.

Therefore it’s easy to put him in the “conservative” box. All you see is beautiful and rich people and well done art, and though he’s been friends with impressionists, we could say he kept painting “interesting records of social life at the time”. Beautiful dresses, gorgeous art skills and colors, almost photographs!

Today we see other things, and Tissot is said to be “rediscovered”. Because we know now he painted about the “nouveau riche” world : there’s show-off everywhere (what we call in France un “m’as-tu vu”. This didyouseemeness is putting a smile on my face. These dresses must have been a real mess, right?

More : Tissot manages to make us think about the slices or boredom and loneliness and worry. It’s been a harsh world, and I thought about this marvellous Scorcese’s movie : The Age of Innocence – read the book, or The House of Mirth, also by Edith Wharton, which is worse!

Have a nice day!

The Gallery of HMS Calcutta (Portsmouth) c.1876 by James Tissot 1836-1902





Portrait 1876 by James Tissot 1836-1902






Pierre Bonnard, French painter

Pierre Bonnard (1867-1947) was a French painter, a “post-impressionist”, a member of the Nabis ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Les_Nabis ), etc… You’ll find many labels around him.

If you Google image (or Pinterest) his name, you’ll find :

  1. A splendid and risky use of colors
  2. Unusual viewpoints
  3. Original “frames” games (windows, doors…)
  4. A obvious smiling casualness, and modest dareness, nerve
  5. A Japanese way to draw in 2D, flat
  6. Intimate scenes and everyday life
  7. Dreamy, quietness
  8. Unfinishness, childishness, chilled : pleasure


So maybe like me you won’t like Bonnard, but you’ll like him though! Watch them in a row, and you’ll find a smile on your face. See?

Have a nice day!



Insinuation & Pertuiset, a French poem & painting


This poem from Paul Valéry is a bag of problems, a real mess. Therefore I study it with you, OK?

First, translation. The one I found is a lie…

The title is NOT Insinuation, but “The Insinuater”, or “The insinuating guy”.

Oh curves that meander -> O curves, meander
As a secret lie, -> secrets of the liar
Is not this slowness -> Is there a art more tender
The tenderest art? -> than this slowness?

I know where I’m going,
I’ll take you there, -> and I want to drive you there
My dark intentions -> My bad intent
Mean you no harm… -> Is not to harm you



Oh curves that meander
As a secret lie,
Is not this slowness
The tenderest art?

I know where I’m going,
I’ll take you there,
My dark intentions
Mean you no harm…

(Although she smiles
With blooming pride,
So much freedom

Oh curves that meander
As a secret lie,
I’ll make you wait
For the tenderest word

  1. These spoken words of a man who wants, desires, and tries to manipulate a girl, and when we read it today, it sounds… harassing, right?
  2. It is “said”, but pretty surely inside his own head, like if there was a mic inside – but I’m not sure, because of the brackets (which ARE like inside his head).
  3. Every girl knows that a guy who says “I don’t want to harm you” will harm you pretty soon.
  4. Does the poet want to sound weird? To show how it is to sound weirdly methodically desiring?
  5. Is the “tender art of being slow” a delight for the man, or for the woman? Like a too slow cat and mouse game?
  6. We readers probably hate him, with his “I’ll make you wait”…
  7. What’s the tenderest word? “I love you”? “Yes”?
  8. This mister wise guy seems to be proud of his “skills” (“so much freedom disorients!”).

Then I realized that this toxic poem is like being mockingly, sarcastically in a smooth talker, a womanizer’s head. Each of the four strophes is ridiculous and show-offy.

I couldn’t find the purpose of this, until I saw Pertuiset in a book, yesterday evening :


This Edouard Manet‘s painting is totally forgotten today – apart from Art specialists. He pictured Eugène Pertuiset, a hunter of the XIXth Century, a globetrotter who killed beasts, and showed the skins in Paris salons.

Far from Tanzania, right? All this is ridiculous, from thr French garden to his costume (more adapted to Germany than to African’s deserts), to his face, the tree, the angle (no horizon). Manet wrote, like carving lovers, his name on the trunk. “Has the artist intentionally exposed the model’s comicality?”.



Braggarts are exposed (in French we say “un fanfaron”), but not and never explained. The show-offist are just… shown, as they are. The audience has to find the ridiculousness or absurdness of what they to or try to do. The keys are not given.

Trying to impress, being sure to impress, and looking like a fanfaron, oh my. We’re all afraid of being impostors, right?

Thanks for reading!


O Courbes, méandre,
Secrets du menteur,
Est-il art plus tendre
Que cette lenteur?

Je sais où je vais,
Je t’y veux conduire,
Mon dessein mauvais
N’est pas de te nuire…

(Quoique souriante
En pleine fierté,
Tant de liberté
La désoriente!)

O Courbes, méandre,
Secrets du menteur,
Je veux faire attendre
Le mot le plus tendre.

(Paul Valéry)

Kenton Nelson, American painter

Kenton Nelson (b. 1954) is an American painter. Also a muralist, a watercolorist, a mosaics maker (look at this splendid bag/coat/hands).

You’ll find plenty of other paintings and watercolors on the web.

I’m intrigued because I feel like multiple quiet conflicts in his work : nostalgia, precision, maybe, from his characters, a little hidden desire to live, to pull themselves out of this… clean quietness (am I imagining that?). But it’s never weird, it’s more like a… will to breathe another air. It’s very subtle!

Have a nice day!