– ART –

Art makes the world
a better place.

It stirs emotions in people.

It brings to light
horrors, beauties,

and shows everything in between.

It reveals what would otherwise remain unseen.

Beware though and look past the frame into its soul.


© Hailie.

Note: For those who are in a playful mood, I have hidden some words and a message in my lines. You can scroll down to get the key.


As we are talking about art, I thought it would be relevant to choose another artist’s words to expand our reflection on the topic. While I was writing and researching, I ended up compiling the scattered bits of information you will find below.

I know it is long, but please don’t sigh. ❤ You don’t have to read it, and if you still want to, the positive part is you were spared the looooong hours of research, and you can now enjoy the selected content, digested and explained through my words. I hope you find it as interesting as I did. 


Art Through Degas’ Words

“Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

Edgar Degas

I will let you ponder over that – we will get back to it in my conclusion below – and start by telling you more about the man himself. 

Degas (1834-1917) is often referred to as an Impressionist, but he was highly influenced by Realism too and preferred to call himself an “Independent”. He began to exhibit his work in Paris in the 1870s. He enjoyed playing with light, movement, and painted scenes of urban leisure and nudes. He also portrayed lower-class models in some of his paintings and that did not meet the approval of his peers. His inherited wealth enabled him to work on his art, as he desired throughout his life.


After the Bath, Woman drying herself (1890-5) painting realised by E. Degas and exposed at the National Gallery in London.

About This Painting

I find this painting textural, alluring and sensual. It has a slightly passé feel, because of the colours and the decor, but if you block out the bathtub, the rug, the curtains and the chair, and just focus the subject, her body, her pose, her gesture, her curves, it feels like it could be you, sitting on your beauty bench in your bathroom, drying your hair after a hot bath or a long shower that followed an even longer day, and left you with no choice but to sit, drained. I love how he traced her lines, the waves drawn in the folds of her skin on her back, the perfectly carved valley running along her back. You can feel her muscles tense and release around her shoulder blades. He must have observed her for hours or… He cheated a bit and used a photograph as a model.

At a time when the emergence of photography* on a large scale was changing the place and the role of painting in society, forcing it to redefine itself, Degas did use this emerging art as a helping tool. He captured pictures and pushed further with his art. He tried to integrate movements that a photograph could not show, and emphasised it in his work. Here, he blurred the contours of the figure he traced and played with textures with the pastel medium to achieve just that.

“It is all very well to copy what one sees, but it is far better to draw what one now only sees in one’s memory. That is a transformation in which imagination collaborates with memory.”

Edgar Degas


Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 19.32.21

Miss La La au Cirque Fernando (1879), painting realised by E. Degas and exposed at the National Gallery in London. 

About This Painting

I am really touched by Degas’ art. I particularly love his Miss La La au Cirque Fernando, which is one of my favourite paintings. I love the pastel colours, the composition, the framing, the position of the subject on the canvas. It feels like he took a photograph and memorised it. Degas was fascinated by movements and poses. In this piece, he invites us to watch the performing artist frozen in her act just, as he must have been, himself, sitting in the audience, admiring her. It is an easy assumption to make considering he went to the circus several times to see the representation. That is how much he liked Miss La La’s act.

I am always struck in awe when I observe his work. I feel transported through his art, through his imagery, not precisely to his time, but to a unique version of his time seen through his eyes and magically enhanced and hazed twice over, by his imagination and by his art.

Concluding Words

It is now time to wrap this up so I am bringing another of Degas’ quotes, which I find amazing, true to most forms of art, and more often than not necessary to pique my gourmet artistic interest.

“A painting requires a little mystery, some vagueness, some fantasy. When you always make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people.”

E. Degas

As an artist, painter, writer, or in any other form of art, you just have to find your own inner voice, your style, your balance, your purpose. Always write with a purpose. If you are not sure about that, just keep in mind that someone is going to read you, and they have to get you. Make sure they can. Don’t be lazy. *note to self* Read it over, read it out loud, if it flows generally it will mean a go, if it doesn’t work on it a little longer, just until it does… Art is patience.

Painting takes work, writing does too.

“One must do the same subject over again ten times, a hundred times. In art nothing must resemble an accident, not even movement.”

Edgar Degas

Should art be spontaneous or controlled? Balanced? To what extend? I could ask a thousand more questions for us to ponder over, and I probably will some other day, in another post.

I hope you enjoyed this read.

I would be so very delighted to hear your take on art, and what it means to you. I would also love to discover some of your favourite artists or works of art, pieces that particularly touch you. If you feel like it, react or share in the comment section below.

Love, always!

© Hailie

More about Degas: 




A tiny bit of history of photography to help situate Degas
in a historical and societal perspective.

1800-30s – Birth of photography through many inventors and varied techniques throughout the world. (Nicéphore Niépce, Hércules Florence, Henry Fox Talbot, Louis Daguerre, John Herschel…)

1839 – Daguerre commercialises his camera.

1888 – First Kodak original box cameras get commercialised. Black and white pictures become available to the general public.

Around 1907 – Early colour photography – Autochrome technique. (Link to an interesting thoroughly researched video here) 7:30)

1913 – The girl in red (see photos below) – Mervyn O’Gorman, a British engineer captures stills of his daughter Christina, on a day at the beach in Lulworth Cove, southern England.



This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am amazed at how dreamy and timeless these pictures look. It doesn’t feel like they are over a hundred years old.

Despite the enthusiasm the autochrome technique first met in the art circles, their  interest was short lived. The mechanical process was not satisfying to some artists, because they felt like they didn’t have control over the process. Thus it didn’t fit their definition of art, which is mostly creation and work involving the artist’s touch. For a long period of time, the colour techniques lost ground in favour of monochrome. The trauma and tragedy of the two World Wars also participated in putting all the craze it first met, and any advancement in this field of technology altogether into a relative halt.

1960s 70s – Colour photography becomes popular and widely commercialised.

1970s – 80s – Emergence of the technology of digital cameras.

mid to late 1990s – Digital cameras start reaching a wider population.

1999 – First phone equipped with a camera (Kyocera – Japan-only VP-200)

More links for further reading 

Featured image: Sunset Framed by Shadowed Leaves, captured in Thonon-Les-Bains, France, on May 22nd, 2017. (iPhone 5S, HDR settings)

Answer Key

Hidden words and message






beware of hate


42 Comments Add yours

  1. I only got love and soul without peeking at the answers. I absolutely love this post.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you M! I am so glad you do! It took a lot of writing, but I enjoyed it very much 🙂


      1. Your enthusiasm shows that you indeed enjoy writing it, like everything you write of course.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you ❤ that is a lovely compliment ❤ I am glad my passion for art shows through my lines. Thank you for taking the time to read that giant piece ^^


          1. Are you kidding? It is always such pleasure Hailie, always

            Liked by 1 person

          2. ❤ Your words and support are so precious. Thank you, M 🙂


          3. I am honored to read your blog, truly, truly, it is my pleasure

            Liked by 1 person

          4. ❤ as I am to read yours. The pleasure is shared! Did I tell you how addicted I am to your happy thoughts? 😉


          5. Yay. I my smile just got bigger

            Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for the knowledge drop 🙂 Very enlightening. I’ve never one for paintings, they just don’t stir me in the same ways other art forms do. However, it was interesting to read your views on those paintings, to see the details that I’m missing.
    I completely agree about art making the world a better place though. I remember a quote from a scientific view on art and culture.
    “Cultural artistic expression reflects philosophical evolution, interest in growth, perspective, observation, interpretation.”
    Art is both essential in and a product of the growth of a culture, and so indeed makes the world a better place 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hey Dreamwalker 🙂 It is so nice to read your comment! Thank you much for bringing food to this debate with your thoughts and this excellent quote! Art challenges us to be better, it questions us and like you said that causes cultural growth. Thank you for reading, stopping by and sharing your view which I adhere to! also I am glad I could bring a bit of painting contemplation into your life. 🙂 Maybe you don’t like paintings that much because you have not seen any that really speak to you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Anytime. Thanks for the debate :P.
        Haha, maybe it’s that. Or maybe I’m just jealous of them XD

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Haha! You write but you don’t draw?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. My drawings are usually a bit more… engineered. There’s a bit less room for interpretation in them XD

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Those are very useful too! You can be so creative using a computer too. Though I believe you are talking about work there, not about art. So yeah, that would kick interpretation right out the door ^^

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Haha, you guessed correctly 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  3. booandlittleman says:

    I always love your poems and their beautiful presentation. I especially enjoyed this with your account of an artist and painting. I could feel your passion! More posts like this please. X

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aw ❤ Thank you so much, B.! That is such a lovely thing to say. I am honoured you enjoy my reading my posts. 🙂 I am so happy you liked this one in particular. I was afraid it was a bit long ^^ Usually, readers on blogs prefer short pieces. Thank you for stopping by and giving me your feedback! I enjoyed writing this post, so I will definitely do that again 🙂 Many thanks again ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ivors20 says:

    What a wonderful thought provoking article you’ve delivered today, and so I’ll rattle off my favourite artist’s, the ones that have influenced me to become creative. My first impression of art when I was a youngster was the great sculpture works of Augustine Rodin, I went on a school trip to Melbourne Art Gallery to see his works, unbelievably the most impressive display I’ve ever seen, “The Thinker”, “The Burghers of Calais” and of course, “The Kiss”, and there’s more and more. That’s when my mind began to “Think”, haha……. My bestest, painter is Vincent Van Gogh, his imagination with colour and perspective was out of this world, such a distinctive and individual style. My favourite poet, and by far the biggest influence on my writings is the sublime Leonard Cohen, and there’s so many of his outstanding words to chose from, I’m actually lost for words… but some of his later poems are superb, “Happens To The Heart”, and every word of his last Album “You Want It Darker”, completely melts me, especially his poem/song “Treaty”…it’s a must read for all of mankind… Well, that’s enough from Ivor, Cheers and happy reading xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ivor! I am so happy you enjoyed this read! I was hoping it would nourish your thoughts and I was secretly wishing for some artistic suggestions navigating from you to me. Thank you for pointing out to me all these works of heart that touched you. I will note them down and see if I can write a piece on those who mark me too.

      Van Gogh is also one of my favourites. The Starry Night has me lost in its light spirals, mesmerised by the poetry infused in the painting, every time I look at it.

      I will check out Leonard Cohen’s work and get back to you on him as I know how much you adore his work. I just read treaty and I was transported! So much beauty, so much tragedy, so much love, so much care – and so much anger too – infused in his lines. I was caught in his words repeatedly.

      “We sold ourselves for love but now we’re free
      I’m sorry for the ghost I made you be
      Only one of us was real and that was me”,

      “You were my ground, my safe and sound
      You were my aerial”

      These lines are so poetic and their softness contrast with the fluidity of the poisonous wickedness in these lines, which are nonetheless gorgeous

      “He shed his scales to find the snake within
      But born again is born without a skin
      The poison enters into everything”.

      The inherent danger and warning brought shivers down my spine. Brr..

      Thank you for sharing all of that with me. You have brought me food for thoughts and suggestions for hours and hours of contemplation. I am loving it 🙂 ❤ Have a fantastic day on your end of the world!


      1. ivors20 says:

        I’m so pleased you absorbed the splendor of Treaty, and of course I could recite so many more, but just one more for you to read, and even sing along with, on Youtube… “One Of Us Cannot Be Wrong”.. have fun Soulful One….

        Liked by 1 person

        1. When I wrote the first comment, I had only read the words of “Treaty”. I had not listened to it yet. I did, and wow! How he moved me! I think you just got me hooked to another artist. I now fully share you admiration for the man. My mum had told me about him a few months ago, and she had confessed how she loved him. She is fascinated by the song “By the Rivers Dark”. She had me listen to it on her phone, but the speakers were so bad, the sound was painful to listen to. It could not have clicked in those conditions. I am listening to it now on my home speakers… That feels goooood! What a ballad! A singing poet with a deep dark soft voice ❤
          And "One of Us Cannot Be Wrong" ❤ "Then I took the dust of a long sleepless night and I put it in your little shoe/ And then I confess that I tortured the dress that you wore for the world to look through" just gorgeous lines. The whole is a fatal passionate ode to his lover. He knows how dangerous she is. He has witnessed or heard testimonies of the consequences of her charms on others, yet he begs to "come into the storm" she is. Gorgeous poetry, very emotional performances, he was a strong artist! I wish I had discovered him before. Thank you for bringing him up. He is an inspiration. I am grateful ❤


          1. ivors20 says:

            I’m so pleased for you, and please enjoy, I’m afraid I’m a bit of a fanatic of his, I’ve got “ALL” of his Albums and a few of his poetry books, and have been an avid fan since I was a teenager !!

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Wow! You are his number one fan 🙂 Having been following him from the beginning gives you a great insight into his career and the evolution of his art.


          3. ivors20 says:

            He’s been with me on my journey, when I got married, when Carole suffer from MS for 30 years, when I had my stroke, when I had my mental issues, when Carole passed, when I was grieving, when I found a new love, when that love left me, and here I am, and he’s still in my life

            Liked by 1 person

          4. ❤ Inspiration is the best companion. You are living a full life. I am glad he is there for you. His passionate words and deep voice feel like they would be powerful enough to lift listening souls back to their feet.


          5. ivors20 says:

            Yes, he’s lifted this soul on many occasions, and I’m forever thankful for having a source of energy and soulfulness beside me

            Liked by 1 person

          6. ❤ Maybe you should write a book about him. Seen through your eyes, with your sensibility, I am certain it would appeal to his numerous fans, and to yours 😉


          7. ivors20 says:

            What a nice idea, I often thought of telling my life’s journey, which an epic story itself, and then tie his words in along the way, wow ….

            Liked by 1 person

          8. I would buy such a book 🙂 Your story sprinkled with his poetry. What a treat!


          9. ivors20 says:

            Thanks Soulful One, ♡, nearly 1.00am here, so off to sleep, has been such a pleasurable chat with you, nite nite xo

            Liked by 1 person

          10. Nighty night, dreamy poet! It is always a delight 🙂 Can’t wait to read your book! ❤


        2. Just realised one of the songs I keep listening to is his 🙂 Suzanne ❤ I feel silly now for not connecting the dots before.. I love that one so much.


  5. Diana says:

    Oh my … such a glorious read! A powerhouse post! Your eloquent words are a fine accompaniment to the pieces you present. I simply adore “Miss La La au Cirque Fernando” … the faded pastels, the subtle shadows on limbs. I stared for minutes.
    Yet, what has surprised me most is my emotional response to the autochrome images of the Girl in Red. Time and lives frozen for us to see, as the father would have that sunny afternoon. My heart heavy thinking how that time is now long gone. But the beauty of the moment endures.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Merci 🙂 I am glad you liked it! So so glad! I had no idea how an “essay” like that one would be received by my dearest readers and friends. Your approval eases my concern. There, there now. It just vanished 🙂

      I adore Miss La La. Isn’t it wonderful how a painting can capture your attention and have you immersed in it? You stand there unable to move, struck with awe, observing, until something comes to stir you from your contemplative state or your mind just takes back its control having processed enough of that new found beauty to feel satisfied for now.

      As for the Girl in Red series, they are such striking stills frozen in time, I agree absolutely. She was sitting there, observed and directed by her father, then captured through the lens and then re-emerged through this mechanical process that transforms the colours in a unique way. She lived over a hundred years ago, yet her image feels timeless. There is some magic about her, or simply an emotion hidden there, in her world that she is hiding, or just not quite showing, and that we can’t pinpoint. It is like she exists in a parallel dimension. She feels so close, so real, yet we can’t reach her.

      Her expression strikes me too. She is gorgeous, though she seemingly has it all, she is not joyous. Does she feel sad? nostalgic, lost in her thoughts? Then again she may simply be bored by so much exposure to the camera.. All that to say I think she is fascinating too. A window through time existing exactly at that precise space between too worlds and only subsisting on the milestone of that photograph.
      Thank you so much for your lovely contribution! You had me ponder over it all a bit longer 🙂


      1. Diana says:

        Your essay was the highlight of my day (that would be yesterday … midnight has just arrived here on the Pacific). Good morning dear heart…greetings once more as our earth shifts daylight to shadows and vice versa. I wonder how your day shall be? 😌

        I’m pleased you have thought some more on your post – it was far too precious to not revisit. I would subscribe to a blog of art inspirations like this. 😊
        And now once more to the girl … the waif like beauty with divine cascading locks. I sense she is morose, although perhaps smiling was discouraged during the era. I wonder how long the exposure was? Perhaps her father was controlling and all she wanted was to run barefoot with the wind at her back. I hope she lived a life of running barefoot!

        Off to seek dreams now, till our next meeting … ❤️

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Your words make me even happier! Your enthusiastic reception far exceeds my writing expectations.

          Good morning to you too, Soulful Light! You probably don’t know it yet, except if you have stumbled upon my non-advertised biography page on Mug’s Tale, but I am an English teacher working in a priority education junior high school here in France, so I am on summer break for fifteen more precious days. Time always feels like it is speeding by… I know I am lucky to have spare time at all, and to love what I do when I work too, still I can’t help but complain that I need more… ^^

          My day shall be filled with a run by the lake and then more writing, I predict, also I plan on practising guitar and adding to my day with some singing and song writing fun ^^

          I am pleased you made me linger in on this post too. Thank you ❤ Haha, you are the second person who is asking for more. I will gladly provide again. Maybe make it a monthly or bi-monthly feature. It is very long work, though I enjoy every bit of it, and will do it with pleasure.

          The exposure time was not that long for an autochrome capture. http://www.autochromes.culture.fr/index.php?id=37&L=1 "Taking an Autochrome image with standard equipment on a bright summer day typically required an exposure time of about one second, so "the cameras had to be equipped with a tripod to provide stability throughout exposure." " I guess that makes it long compared to the one hundredth of a second that was necessary to capture a monochrome kodak picture at the time.

          My first thought was… hmm. Smiling still is discouraged in fashion pictures today but not in family portrait or snapshots. Since I did not know how to properly reply to your hypothesis of smiling being discouraged back then, I looked it up 🙂 http://time.com/4568032/smile-serious-old-photos/ From what I have read, the technical exposure argument is often brought up, but it is also questionable as it took only a second for the image to be captured. It is not that difficult to hold a smile for a second. – I tried as I wrote to make sure I wasn't typing any nonsense. Poor dental hygiene could be another reason, though I doubt that could apply to the lovely girl in red. However what seems to justify that smile-less look of hers is likely linked to what you mentioned. Smiling was discouraged in upper class portraits before photography was invented. Smiles on portraits were perceived as a lack in dignity. Smiles were "associated with madness, lewdness, loudness, drunkenness, all sorts of states of being that were not particularly decorous." (Angus Trumble, the director of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, Australia, and author of A Brief History of the Smile http://time.com/4568032/smile-serious-old-photos/)

          Back to the mysterious object of our attention, I do hope she lead a fun-filled, happy life too. Though somehow, knowing what started just a year after this photograph was captured, I doubt hers was a reassuring era to live in.

          Thanks again for the stimulating discussion 🙂 I am loving it 🙂 ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Diana says:

            And I am loving it, our discussions add a richness to every day. Pure and simple, your words and getting to know you are a delicious habit. And now to this post, what an epic reply. My thanks to you for doing the research to answer my queries. Frustratingly, I’m in the throes of a work week, grabbing a few minutes here and there to read (in between patients). There is nothing I wouldn’t like more right at this moment than to be nestled comfortably at a coffee shop, free of distraction and being fully immersed.
            It comes as no surprise that you are a teacher, sharing information comes so easily to you! Your pupils no doubt are as privileged as your readers online. It seems some people fall into careers so perfectly suite to them 🙂
            We share a mutual appreciation for extended sky gazing, writing, photography .. and guitars! For me a work in progress, but something I love doing … I have three but play my electric very muted. No need to raise the ire of neighbors. Yet,
            Good evening to you dear heart…

            Liked by 1 person

          2. The feeling of deliciousness surrounding the reception of this new connection is very much reciprocated. 🙂 It is a teacher’s habit ^^ I can’t leave a question asked suspended in midair. I have to go out there get the answer. I get more knowledgeable in the process. So that makes it a fair trade 😉
            I understand the frustration. I would feel it too, if I were teaching right now. Students fill in all voids. Even between classes, they have a tendency to come and invade my space, but they are so adorable that it makes it all right. I hope the new recruits in September will be just as sweet as they were last year.

            A little peep here and there between patients sounds like a sneaky bite of cake that provides the tiny fix needed until the evening comes. You are a health specialist then… I wonder which kind. I imagine you to be very warm, caring, reassuring and full of positive energy around your patients.

            I have two guitars – my mum’s and mine. The later is my beloved partner. She sings so beautifully, and she is so soft and warm and huggable – a Martin. https://www.martinguitar.com/guitars/15-series/000-15m/ I am in the process of learning guitar too, I started taking lessons two years ago. I am loving it so much I starting composing and writing my own songs. I was so elated when I created my first song a couple of weeks ago. It was like I had just discovered a new layer of me, now I am addicted to that too ^^

            Good afternoon to you too D. 🙂

            PS: my email address is diaryofasoulwriter@gmail.com I have a feeling that it will be an easier medium for our correspondence 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          3. Diana says:

            I simply cannot do justice to your comment, I mean letter … here, so shall be thrilled to head the way of the good, old fashioned email. Of course, being a little old fashioned … a fountain pen and paper and letters … sigh, now that would be something 🙂 Haha! Maybe our souls did that in another lifetime, when there was more time. When we would tire of our needlework in the parlour, or grow bored gazing through the window. (No, on second thoughts … we would never tire of looking out the window at gathering clouds and the changing of the seasons. That is so not us!). Good night! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

          4. Haha ^^ bored! I think that can never happen to either of us. There are never enough hours in a day so I have to borrow time to the night.

            Liked by 1 person

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