Saturday, September 02, 2006


The Onions by Auguste Renoir

Just when I was feeling sorry I don’t have an extra $135 to hop on a plane to see Lesley in NYC, or $900 for a snowblower for Don to clear the driveway this winter, or $700 plane fare for Peter to visit his friend in Milan, I read in my birthday book Celebrating the Impressionist Table (by Pamela Todd),

Camille Pissarro, Edgar Degas, Paul Cézanne, Alfred Sisley, Claude Monet, Berthe Morisot, Auguste Renoir, Edouard Manet and Frédéric Bazille . . . lived on a stream of credit . . . often they were without money to eat, let alone paint. . . .Once, in Arles, van Gogh lived for four days on forty-three cups of coffee and stale crusts of bread, while covering canvas after canvas with a glorious explosion of vivid color. . . . Renoir kept Monet, his mistress, Camille Doncieux, and their son from starvation by bringing them scraps filched from his parents’ table. ‘We might not eat every day,’ Renoir wrote to Bazille, ‘but I’m content because Monet is great company for painting.’”

Jean Monet by Claude Monet (Jean is Claude's son by Camille Doncieux)

Le dejeuner sur l'herbe by Claude Monet

Contentment has nothing to do with how much I have, or don’t have. It has nothing to do with financial status. It has to do with what I value, and whether I believe I have enough.

“I might not have ____________, but I’m content because ____________.”

How do you fill in the blanks?

Café Terrace on the Place du Forum, Arles by Vincent van Gogh


lesleyanne said...

i might not have a lot of friends, but i do have a select few that i absolutely love.

lesleyanne said...

i love these paintings!!

Ruth said...

Mmm, dawtuh, that's wonderful.

I love these paintings too. I love them more now as I'm learning more about their creators. Isn't the one of Jean Monet fantastic??

Ginnie said...

That's a good question, Ruth! So good that it's gonna take me some time to figure out my response. In the meantime, it's good to be reminded about our famous artists and what they had to go through in their lifetimes to get to their status, usually posthumously. To be passionate about one's art to that extreme is exemplary!

Ruth said...

Ginnie, right, didn't van Gogh sell one painting during his life? To be committed to what is your calling, what your soul tells you to do, daily, without recognition, that's really something.

Ginnie said...

I have found myself stumped on your question, Ruth, and the only thing I can come up with is that I really am content. I'm sure there's something I don't have but there's so little I want. Maybe it would be acceptance. I might not have acceptance for who I am as a gay woman but I am content because I've learned to accept who I am. It's kinda hard to be anyone else!

Patty said...

Ruth, thanks so much for commenting on my site a while back! I have been busy and have just now been able to come visit and thank you. I may not have time to visit your sites often, but I'll check back when I have some time and go through your archives. It may be a while though, since I'm pretty stressed out about my speeches and not wanting to mess up.

“I might not have the courage or strength to do my speeches perfectly or without my heart pounding the entire time, but I’m content because it will be over in 2 and a half weeks and I'll have some grades for the class.”

Excellent post, I may do a fill in the blank type of post sometime on my website. If I do, I'll credit you with the idea.

Take care!

Ruth said...

Ginnie, it's pretty cool that you can't think of something you don't have. Think about it. That's contentment. And you accept yourself, and that's all that matters in the end.

Ruth said...

Hello, Patty! I'm glad you stopped by. No apology needed. Your priority is classes, and if you have time for stopping by, that's great. I look forward to a fill-in-the-blank post of yours.

So, speech class. I never had the courage to take that in college. But I predict it will be very good for you. Public speaking is hard for everyone, but it can be so envigorating to, to win the audience over to your way of seeing something. Best wishes on all your classes! Did you find another one to replace the cancellation?

david said...

i might not have everything, but i'm content because i have what i need.
that's a great question, and i'm really glad i popped over to see it!

Ruth said...

David, thank you for your visit. It's great to realize we are content. Love your photos so much!

rachel said...

If you want a snowblower, call my step-dad in Lansing. He fixes them up as a hobby. I'll email you his phone number.

Ruth said...

Thanks, Rachel!

Rauf said...

“I might not have money but I’m content because I have time.
Not a good one Ruth. I find myself doing nothing. That is not something I can be proud of.

I have no money and I have no problems. Or I am not aware of my problems. Its nearly 30 years since I have been to a doctor. Because I can't afford to fall sick. I am not a healthy person.
If I have money, I will not have time, half or most of it would go to the doctors. Never had a check up, don't know if I have any lungs left. Don't want to know. I want to die without being a burdon on my family who have given me so much of love. Van Gogh shot himself for the same reason. But I don't have a gun. I have not seen or touched a gun in my life, have seen only in the movies.

Rauf said...

Another good thing apart from not having any money, is that I am living in a tropical country where there is hardly any winter, we don't need any warm clothes. Very rich live in Florida or South of France. We don't have such places here. We have snow in northern most states of Himachal and Kashmir. Many die of exposure during winters. Heating, warm clothes are priorities.

Ruth said...

Rauf, most people think the saying goes "money is the root of all evil," but it's "the love of money is the root of all evil."

Health means a lot, and I hope you will be healthy. But I understand what you're saying. Money can control your life for many reasons. It sounds like you're glad it doesn't control yours.

rachel said...

You know, I'd be crazy, too, if I lived on coffee. It seems that history idolizes people who don't take care of themselves. There's an irony. Van Gogh will not forsake himself by painting commissioned portraits of royalty for money, yet he does not cherish his own existence enough to nourish himself. I think this is a tragedy that artists choose too often. Society does not support their interests or needs, so they end up rebelling, and in doing so, they mutilate their own bodies and souls in the process for show. Why oh why is our health not the most important subject we learn in school? Why is there not a course devoted soley to finding one's purpose in life? Since our government has branches designed to control every facet of our lives, why is there not an agency designed to support these endeavors, without creating debt?

Ruth said...

Rachel, I agree with you completely. You have an astute perspective.