Saturday, August 1, 2009


Claude Monet Painting in a Wood
John Singer Sargent

I have always loved this painting by John Singer Sargent, of his friend Claude Monet, because it feels mellow. It feels as if it were painted in August, which is my favorite month. August is a mellow month, don't you think? The sun is beginning to set earlier in the evening, the mornings are cooler and the light in the air is different. It takes on a slightly golden hue, not quite the blue and white brightness of June and July. I always feel relaxed and languid (isn't that a wonderful word?) in August, and everything seems to slow down to a lazy pace.

When I was a little girl, August was the month when my parents would take us to the Mainland for the family visit with my grandparents. My grandfather had retired from the police force, and he bought an apple orchard. My brothers and I loved spending hours playing in the cool trees. My grandparents had a Shetland pony named "Pirate" and a palomino horse named "Goldie" and we thought it was wonderful to be able to ride them around the countryside. For one month, our parents and our grandparents were relaxed and having fun. It just felt -- mellow. In August, the whole world kicks into another gear, sort of dreamy and tranquil.

We have a three-day weekend here in Canada, and I plan to spend the whole three days just being lazy -- going to the beach, doing some drawing and painting, reading a book, or whatever I feel like doing, whenever I feel like doing it. I hope you can do that where you are too.

Here is my favorite song from "Alice in Wonderland". It always reminds me of a lazy August afternoon.


Alissa said...

Hope you have a nice, languid weekend. It sounds wonderful!

Land of shimp said...

I've always loved that painting also. It feels peaceful, and loving. Just the act of capturing an artist creating, it's a way of honoring him.

Languid is a funny word. It's one of those where the first two definitions are actually rather negative, but the third is the most commonly used meaning.

I like languid also because of the image it conjures. I like that the intent behind the word, when we use it, surpasses the confines the actual meaning.

The word euphoria is a little like that. It basically means an overall sense of well-being, but we've imbued it with this sense of rambunctious joy.

Languid is like that, it may mean slow (implication, due to weakness) but when it is used the connotation is more a peaceful, restful slowness.

Amelia said...

AHhhhh...I could only IMAGINE playing around in an apple orchard. I loved the little park back home that I went to sometimes in the summer that had green apple trees everywhere. LOVED it! :)

Mean Mama said...

I always savored August because I knew school was coming. I was in the pool every day trying to soak up every hour of summer left.

Deb said...

Jo, I agree with you on all accounts....except...replace August with October!

Land of shimp said...

I also wanted to add, aside from my ramblings about how we give certain words a spirit, or a soul, is that you are incredibly good at conjuring imagery. The apple orchard, the horse and pony, basically what I'm saying is that you are very good at giving your stories a spirit also.

I always feel a little awkward saying things like that, it can sound like someone is just blowing sunshine, but I mean it sincerely.

Pouty Lips said...

I am going to be humming that tune all evening. That's a great painting. It's fun to imagine Monet doing his work on a lazy August day. Thanks for the blast from the past too - I had almost forgotten how adorable the singing and dancing flowers are in Alice In Wonderland. Have a wonderfully relaxing weekend Jo.

robert said...

Good morning Jo,
what a wonderful way to start this month. Am currenly hours on the playground and am not wearing a watch anymore - what a month of changes.
Wish you a very nice weekend.

Shaista said...

I never thought of August as being mellow but i will now. It is my birthday month so I always feel August is the month of the judging point. If I haven't done such and such by August, well then... the year has passed me by :)

The Bug said...

I agree with Shaista - I was just setting out to be more industrious this month, not more mellow. But now I think I'll just go with the flow - which will come in handy on the 13th when I have shoulder surgery!

Land of shimp said...

@ The Bug -- Good luck with your surgery! Remember ice is your friend, and so is physical therapy (although boy, it never seems like it at the time).

Heal well :-)

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