"Those who have experienced Paris have advantage over those who have not. We are the ones who have glimpsed a little bit of heaven, down here on earth." - Deirdre Kelly

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Meeting Berthe - the further adventures of a Time Lady

"Real Painters understand with a brush in their hand."
- Berthe Morisot

'With a Bouquet of Violets' (1872)
Portrait of Berthe Morisot, by Edouard Manet

I've been back from Paris for nearly two months. And, from the moment I landed at O'Hare, I've been hard at work on my photography/travel writing: my article for Romantic Homes (Urban Garden will be published in the March issue!). I'm especially anxious about my Postcards from Paris feature for Belle Inspiration. Not only because it will be a recurring featured article; primarily because I've finally realized my dream of publishing my photography and travel writing for a Paris magazine!

This week I finally had a moment to focus on my jewelry. Actually, I'm glad that it took me this long to get to it. I needed time for this last trip's inspiration to settle in, swirl around a bit - in my heart, mind and soul. When I first sat down, to get to work, I still was not able to grasp and gather the wispy filaments of Paris inspiration. Then it came to me, I just needed to hop into my trusty T.A.R.D.I.S. And I knew exactly where and when to go - back to the Salon des Refuses (late-19th century Paris).

"In love, there is sentiment and passion...
sentiment equals love of the intellect...
passion equals love of the body." 

While I was wandering around the salon, I met the most extraordinary young lady. I was standing in front of the most gorgeous painting. As I leaned forward to read the name of the artist, the woman standing next to me asked if I liked the painting. I replied: Oui, tres bien. When she laughed at my reply, I thought that I had mangaled my French (again). Then I learned that the artist and the woman where one in the same - Berthe Morisot. Of course I asked if she would tell me more about this new-fangled en plein air art form and she invited me to join her and her compatriots at Cafe Guerbois. While it was amazing to hang out with Monet, Degas, Cezanne, Renoir and the rest, I was particularly interested in Mademoiselle Morisot.

"It is important to express oneself...provided the feelings are real and are taken from your own experience."

Morisot's biography was similar to that of all extraordinary women, pre-20th century. She came from an upper-middle class family with parents who fully supported their daughters' artistic and intellectual endeavors - and were willing to back up that support with money. Morisot primarily painted what she knew - a gentille lady's life: no urban or street scenes or (gasp) nudes. She focused on domestic life; portraits of family and personal friends; and the latest fashion. Her paintings have a soft, hazy, feminine quality - quite different from her male counterparts. But don't let that fool you, she drank me under the table! As I made my way back to my T.A.R.D.I.S. I knew that I had to incorporate her beautiful feminine vision into my bracelets.

Inspired by:

"Mademoiselle Euphrasie - Girl from the East" (1886)

Inspired by:

"Woman at Her Toilette" (1875)

See what I mean? Now I've just got to figure out where these gorgeous images will go. While I was with the Impressionists, I was sorely tempted to pull out my D3100 and take some pictures. Sometimes that cardinal rule to not mess with the time stream is very inconvienent! Still, it's a small price to pay to get to be a Time Lady - Sigh...

Vivre! Rire! Aimer!

@ Musee L'Orangerie, 21st century


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