Saturday, 6 September 2008

A window without a woman

My lovely friend M, at Random Distractions, has pointed out a 'women at windows' theme running through some recent posts featuring paintings, here at Musings and at our friend D's 60goingon16 .

Since I've been working from home, I've been lucky enough to be able to position my big old desk in front of a big old window in two different houses. From my last study, I looked out beyond my all-white front garden, to a vast and ancient plane tree on the village green across the road, which filled pretty much the whole frame. Its huge hand-shaped leaves were constantly alive to the changing light and seasons and it is a major regret that I didn't ever carry out my planned 365-photo portrait of that noble creature. I took a great many, but not one for every day of the year.

Here in my muddy island home, my view is less inspiring - I simply face the houses across the road. But the portion of sky I can see hangs directly over the beach and moorings which feature most often here in my TBTM/A/E photos, and the timing of my walks is often prompted by that sky: I can see storms coming, I can see the first strip of bright light which heralds the end of a downpour, and I can tell whether there's going to be a spectacular sunset.

Sadly, I can't see any boats from my window. That's something I'll have to dream about for the time being. To pull back the curtains of a morning and see the sea - . . . heavenly.

In the meantime, to help with the dreaming, here's my absolute favourite window painting of all (with boats and flowers - what more could one ask?):

Open Window, Collioure by Matisse

(1905, National Gallery of Art, Washington)


wordsmith_for_hire said...

I've also had my big old desk at a big old window (twice) since turning freelance. At my last abode, I was facing the very small back garden and the very large houses on the other side of the back alley - not an attractive view and made worse by the fact that the building directly opposite across that alley was the local chippy/Chinese. All the smell used to waft across and by 10.30 am my office would stink of rancid chip fat and Chinese food.

My current view is far nicer - there is still a back alley with houses backing onto it, but the garden is bigger and more attractive and I can see more sky, which is wonderful.

monix said...

If I stand on tiptoe at my bedroom window, on a very clear day, I can see across to the dunes at Saunton Sands. Sadly, the rest is very mundane. I love the Matisse - perhaps I'll buy a print to put on the wall above my desk and pretend it is my view.

Juliet said...

WFH - glad to hear your view has improved with the move - the Chinese chip alley does not sound good. The more sky one can see, the better. One can feel very hemmed in otherwise.

M - Isn't it fab? And so sunny and seductive. A lifesize print of this to gaze at through the long winter gloom would be excellent.

60 Going On 16 said...

Matisse is a constant joy. His pictures, especially of North Africa and southern France, just make the spirit soar.

My office desk is one of those modern glass, aluminium and chrome ones (all functional and minimlalist - so not me), which looks out through an old window to the hillside and vineyard opposite. Plenty of trees and sky. Definitely a summer window. (Shame we haven't got the Tuscan weather to accompany the view.)

But my favourite desk is in the sitting room - my old mahogany and rosewood bureau. it's small and compact (the flap is just big enough for the laptop) and it's tucked into an alcove between the fireplace and one of the windows, which looks out across my veggie rows, front garden and beyond, to the road that leads through the village. I love to work at this desk in the autumn, as the light is fading, or on winter nights when logs are blazing in the woodburner.

Juliet said...

D - your choice of desks is enviable and both views sound absolutely wonderful. And the blazing logs on winter nights . . . sigh . . .

Leafy said...

Hello Juliet,
Well done for showing the world and I that Matisse painting, I love it even more than what I previously thought was my favourite window view.... Raoul Dufy's Open Window at Saint-Jeannet.

Juliet said...

Hi Leaf - yes, the Dufy's a fantastic open window pic and another of my favourites.