Pretty, yes pretty!

This shop in Rome gave me a bit of beauty to capture and pass along!  May 2008

This shop in Rome gave me a bit of beauty to capture and pass along! May 2008

“To my mind, a picture should be something pleasant, cheerful, and pretty, yes pretty! There are too many unpleasant things in life as it is without creating still more of them.”Pierre-Auguste Renoir

With that view of art, no wonder Renoir left us so many gorgeous works to enjoy.  I realize there is a place for art that intrigues or even disturbs our complacent ways of thinking, but when I look at the world today, I think we need beauty more than ever before.  Kudos to Renoir and the thousands (maybe millions) of other artists like him, who want to brighten our lives with images that soothe, uplift and delight us.

We are so fortunate to have the works of great artists online for us to enjoy free whenever we want, wherever we have an internet connection.  The Renoir link above features digitized images of his complete works, and he was a prolific guy, with a wide range of lovely subjects.  If you’d like to see a winter landscape to match your temperatures today, take a look at this lovely image.  Or if you’ve had enough of winter, catch a glimpse of summer beauty here.  Or visit the websites of other artists or museums, and give your spirit a dose of beauty to brighten your day today!

One year ago today

An authentic style


  1. sarvjit

    This whole world was crafted beautifully by Him. Humans altered it, but humans can only change it. I think Aristotle said this “The human which doesn’t loves babies, flowers and peace, is not entitled to be a human.” And a beautiful poem by John Keats “A thing of beauty”. Love it!

    • Sarvjit, I agree that God is the ultimate artist! We can imitate and appreciate, as well as damage and sometimes destroy the beauty of the natural world, but in the end, our efforts have only minimal effect in the face of divine and eternal forces. I think people are universally drawn to nature because its immensity is awe-inspiring but also comforting. It speaks to our souls of God’s love.

      • sarvjit

        Nature is the only teacher to excel in each subject and she also wants us to do so. Nature is the special agent of God, for the betterment of humans and this world. Thank you.

        • You’re welcome! God is definitely revealed to us through nature, and how blessed we are when we listen!

  2. A beautiful photo, so colorful and pretty. :o)

    • Thank you Patricia! It seems to me that we saw so many buildings such as this one in Europe, that were decorated by live flowers. What a joy it was to be able to stroll around and take it all in.

  3. What a lovely photo. I so love the way the Europeans grow the flowers from the balonies and along the walls. I loved seeing all the different villages we went by with the glorious array of flowers. Thanks for sharing the Renoir paintings too. What a nice spot to my day. As I write this God is painting the sky and my front porch is a vibrant pink with the sunrise. Have a lovely day.

    • Hello Amy, you must help me become more of a morning person so I can enjoy more sunrises! As it is, I like to get out at sunset and marvel at the same colors in the evening sky, but it would be great to start the day that way. YES, Europeans have mastered the art of using flowers to stunning effect. I can remember when we were all in Garmisch-Partenkirchen together and I couldn’t quit taking pictures. Each building seemed more stunning than the one before it.

      Aren’t we lucky that we can enjoy art from all the great museums with just a few clicks, from wherever we have access to a computer? I remember how many hours Al and I spent with our Daddy’s book of art from the British Museum. I think “Wow, just imagine how we would have loved to have computer access to countless paintings” and then I realize that would have probably overwhelmed us and we would have been too busy with all the digital and electronic distractions to even pay much attention. As it was, we enjoyed those same paintings in that huge volume over and over, and came to know them in a way we probably would not have if we had access to more. The first time I ever went to the British Museum I was carried away with joy at seeing the originals of paintings that felt to me like old friends. I guess the lesson here is that sometimes quality of attention is as good as, maybe even preferable, to quantity of things to look at. Hope you have a great week this week.

  4. It is cold and a little cloudy this morning, and yet the image above makes me think of its beauty and not of what is waiting outside. Thanks for sharing this blessing!

    • Wendell, you are welcome! The joys of beauty and happy memories are truly multiplied when they are shared. I am so glad you like the photo!

  5. Michael

    Bouganvillea? Awesome picture. Salotto 42. Never been to Rome.

    • Yes, I believe those were bouganvillea, and I LOVE them! I will never forget the first time we moved to California in January 1990; the central coast was seemingly covered with gloriously colorful bouganvillea and ever since then they are instant joy to my heart. Some people seemed to see them as a nuisance because they grew so profusely, but how could anything so gorgeous ever be a nuisance? We had only one day in Rome (part of a cruise) but I very much hope to go back. Our son Drew had given us a hand-drawn map/itinerary that enabled us to cover an amazing amount of ground in the city in that short time, but it only increased my appetite for more. I enjoyed every square inch of Italy that we saw in that trip.

  6. Stunning!

    • Thank you! I’m so glad you like it. 🙂

  7. raynard

    Julia something about color gives you a warm feeling inside. Yes i’ve been to the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens( I’m from Brooklyn it ‘s 15 minutes from where I lived and most of our field trips in school were there and Prospect Park close by.). Flowers might be “my next baking assignment decorating. Seen some good ideas on Pinerest.. Be blessed

    • Raynard, it amazes me what some people have been able to accomplish with cake decorating. I have been tempted many times to try it but my sugar addiction and my need to stay away from it mean that I have to leave that sort of artistry to others! 🙂 I am the kind who wants to eat all the icing roses off the cake! I hope someday to visit the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Manhattan gets all the tourist attention but there are so many lovely things to see in the boroughs!

  8. Michael

    “If you stumble about believability, what are you living for? Love is hard to believe, ask any lover. Life is hard to believe, ask any scientist. God is hard to believe, ask any believer. What is your problem with hard to believe?”
    ― Yann Martel, Life of Pi
    Quote from Life of Pi.

    tags: belief

    • 🙂 What I love most about Life of Pi is the essential conclusion that we all believe, in the end, what we choose to believe…and “which is the better story?” I know my answer!

  9. Jenelle

    Wow. That’s all I can say. I agree with Sarvgit, that the world is indeed beautifully created by the one Creator. How He wants us to enjoy His work! That display of his hand is lovely, absolutely lovely. How could one not be drawn into that shop?!

    • Jenelle, I’ve tried to remember what type of shop it was (I’m sure I was drawn into it!) but I can’t remember. Thanks to the photo, I do remember those lovely flowers. Obviously, the owners of that shop knew that nothing they could create would be more stunning than those gorgeous vines.

  10. Beautiful! Flowers are God’s gift to us…
    Thanks for sharings this wonderful world of color.

    • Thank you Merry! I am so happy you enjoy them too. I am already looking forward to springtime. 🙂

  11. Jack

    I’ve got 3 Alberic Barbier roses against a fence outside my kitchen window. For about 3 weeks in mid May, it’s the most spectacular sight you’ve ever seen. I was told to prune them aggressively, but every branch I cut told me I was sacrificing lots of blooms in May. Finally, when the roses were about to come in the house, prune I did and what a spectacle the blooming has become! I think Jesus had something to say about pruning and good fruit (or blooms)…maybe that’s what the Master Gardener is doing with us with some of our trials?

    • To me, pruning feels so counter-intuitive. I’m always afraid I’m damaging the plant, cutting off potential blooms, ruining the shape, etc. It took me a long time to realize that the more aggressively I prune most things, the more profusely they grow and bloom. I think the Bible talks about all sorts of these principles of growth, many of which seem to be paradoxes; those who want to keep their lives must lose them, the greatest must be the servant of all, power perfected in weakness, the first shall be last, etc. I do think they all point to the importance (and difficulty) of humility AND of not holding onto anything too tightly. Most librarians have a similar difficulty with weeding the library collection, and it’s not helped by well-meaning people who protest “this book is still perfectly good!” I actually had a faculty member protest about my weeding some 1950’s era books in the high school library I began to manage in 1996. (One of the actual titles was Our Mercury Space Program.) I sympathize deeply with anyone who fears waste or throwing away something useful, or pruning a plant or whatever, but it’s necessary to a productive life. Which reminds me, I need to keep SERIOUSLY getting rid of some of my stuff…

  12. Thanks for the beautiful reminders. Art fills me, too!

    • You’re welcome, I’m glad you liked it. I am so grateful for all the creativity that is freely available for us to enjoy!

  13. Sheila

    Julia, just stunning! Thank you for sharing not only this beauty that you captured but also the links to the beautiful art. By the way, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the “Out On The Porch” calendar! 🙂

    • Thanks Sheila, I’m so glad you like it. That calendar gives me a beautiful photo to see each morning (January is a gorgeous beach scene.) 🙂 They are predicting 3-7 inches of snow here tomorrow so it will be especially helpful then!

  14. Oh my word, is that not stunning? Gorgeous J.
    As I was view Renoir’s slideshow, I thought how interesting that so many of his subjects have red hair. Did you ever notice that?
    I’m a big proponent of including pretty in almost every aspect of the day 😀 Especially setting the table. Even though you do it every night, it can still be an event. We were just talking about front doors while dining at Fabiani’s. They had a great photo hanging, of a wonderful entrance on a very old home somewhere in Italy. While the front door is where you’ll welcome guests to your home, I think most often people settle for just a functional thing with little thought to style or beauty. They really know how to do doors in Italy, France, Switzerland. The giant old wooden doors with ornate iron gates or intricate door knobs and latches are so neat. I think it’s a missed opportunity in home building today.

    • You know, I never did notice Renoir’s preference for red hair, but now that you mention it, it seems obvious. It would be interesting to find out whether his loved ones were redheads. Maybe he just liked the color it brought to the picture. I also never thought much about the doors being a focal point but when I think of homes in our neighborhoods that I love, almost all of them have beautiful doors. It’s like an accent that dresses things up. I also love homes that have lovely front porches. It’s always fun ringing the doorbell of a home with a lovely decorative entrance, you can enjoy looking around while you wait for the door to be opened.

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