A Vocation – by William A. Bouguereau

The definition of vocation is a strong feeling of suitability for a particular career or occupation.

A prolific painter, Bouguereau himself has painted over 800 paintings in his lifetime. He is considered the master when it comes to depicting the human body. He is particularly famous for his beautiful hands and feet. I adore the way he had romanticized his subjects, painting them in the best possible way. This is quintessential romantic realism.

This beautiful painting adorns my wall. I feel as though I can gaze into this young artist’s eyes forever. It encapsulates the artist’s focus in a sublime way. Her resolve helps fortify my author’s resolve, her beauty nourishes my soul, inspiring me to continue doing my best writing.

I hope you enjoy gazing at her, too.

A Vocation

The Novel by Herman Jean Joseph Richir

What I love about this painting by Richir is the evident effect of the novel on the reader. She is not reading at the moment. She seems relaxed, the novel is resting at her knees, closed, but her finger is guarding her place. The long, slender fingers of her left hand are resting on the chair in a delicate, almost sensual manner. Her smile is furtive, allowing the words to transport her somewhere, in which she evidently takes pleasure.

I would be pleased had my novel influenced a reader in the same manner.

The Novel - Le Roman - Herman Jean Joseph Richir

Maiden in the Excavations of Pompeii by Filippo Palizzi

I am fascinated by this painting. While everyone else keeps on working, a young girl takes the time to study the unearthed murals beneath her. I feel like I can write a story about this unique girl. Who is she? What makes her differ than the others, instilling within her an urge to savor the moment and examine the excavations she is a part of, not just do the labor. Yes, indeed; I feel like she is someone worth meeting, wouldn’t you agree?

Filippo Palizzi - Maiden in the excavations of Pompeii

Contemplation by Felix Armand Heullant

Amongst possible distractions – a man, a mirror, jewelry, and other fineries – a woman is intently contemplating. Lying on a book, her fingers are about to flip a page, but her gaze remains steadily deep in thought. It is obvious she has been provoked into thinking over what she’s just read. What a wonderful painting by French painter, Felix Armand Heullant. I can only hope my writing would produce this same effect.

Contemplation - Felix Armand Heullant

Henrietta – Bouguereau’s Daughter

This painting William A. Bouguereau did of his daughter, Henrietta (the painting is also called Head of A Girl) is a fantastic example of why I love Romantic Realism. This means it displays reality in a romantic fashion, which means in the highest possible sense known to man, i.e., a romanticized version of reality. You see, Bouguereau made it his business to paint skin in the most sublime way possible, the kind of perfect, flawless, peaches and cream skin that just makes one gape at it in awe and disbelief, as it looks so perfect and lifelike on the canvas. Whether he painted a beautiful, flourishing maiden or a paltry beggar, the subject is always so beautiful as to be considered heavenly. The skin, the fabric, the color, the view, are all painted in the utmost care and with a reflection of the artist’s passionate soul.

If you like this work, look up William Bouguereau online. You will find more than 800 jaw-dropping beauties. If you’re lucky, you may even discover a piece or two in your local museum, where you can go and take it in in all its glory for as long as you like.

Head of a Girl - Henrrietta - Bouguereaus daughter

Fallen Angel by Alexandre Cabanel

Writing a scene means focusing on the details of that particular moment you’re trying to create. You must try and invoke all the senses in the reader’s imagination, so that the reader can imagine the place, the characters, and their actions.

It might sound obvious, but it takes years to become really good at this. Here’s an example of a painting masterpiece by French painter Alexandre Cabanel. I am including a close up of his painting,  Fallen Angel, so that you can see how he perfected a certain detail. The result gives me chills!

Fallen Angel - detailFallen Angel


Fantine by Margaret Bernadine Hall

The painter Margaret Bernadine Hall was so touched by Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables that she painted this image of Fantine, with baby Cosette in her crib. While plump, ruddy cheeked Cosette sleeps peacefully, her mother’s misery is evident. We know from the novel that she was extremely poor and if you look carefully, you will detect an empty bottle on the table behind her. As for the chiaroscuro (the treatment of light and shade in a painting), by making both the background and Fantine’s shirt black, the painter is guiding us directly to her hopeless eyes and downturned mouth. A very powerful image.

Margaret Bernardine Hall - Fantine - baby Cosette - easier to see bottle here




Fairy Tale by Demakov Yevgeniy

There is such beauty in this painting. I love the lively colors, but I especially savor the sense of warmth in the painting. The loving mother has her arms protectively around her snuggled-up daughter, and the daughter is smiling safely in her snug cocoon, unperturbed by the scary parts of the fairy tale. The light shade is illuminating them softly from within as the sun is setting from without. Yevgeniy has suspended this beautiful moment between mother and daughter, capturing the meaning of motherhood with every aspect of this delightful painting.

Happy Mother’s Day to those who are celebrating!

Demakov Yevgeniy fairy tale