Romaine Brooks

Wednesday, 11 April 2012









I'm so exhausted lately, by myself, by others, by expectations, by my own personality. But I find myself almost comforted, if not calmed, by gazing at the artwork of Romaine Brooks. The androgynous nature and muted colours of her work appeal to me. Maybe it has something to do with the almost withdrawn tone of her portraits, where the subjects remain elusive and within themselves like a celebration of solitude. The sense of isolation evident in some of these paintings speaks to my personality. Jane has written the most honest post about her own personality. She could be speaking about me too, I can empathise with her words. I don't really feel like expanding on her words however, I think drawing your attention to them is enough to explain why I too find the constant 'shoulding' exhausting. Thank you Jane, for writing this.

All images are by Romaine Brooks, from here and here.


Naomi Bulger said...

These images are haunting me. I wanted to wait to comment because I want to read Jane's words, too, but I'm busy working and I can't stop coming back to these portraits. There is so much going on behind the eyes, like looking at a child who is an 'old soul'.

rooth said...

You can't help but focus on the faces in these paintings - hope you get break soon

Becky Phelan said...

Ida Rubinstein by Romaine Brooks is the first painting I can distinctly remember falling in love with. I saw it in a museum in DC (unfortunately, I can't remember which one) and I just stared at it for ages. So moody and haunting and AH! So these paintings are very special to me.

Monica said...

my world turned upside down when i stopped 'shoulding'. it was painful, and then liberating.

i have deep need for solitude and for connection. the 'net is a great gift to introverts, but we can easily find ourselves in meaningless or 'should' community,.

i purge regularly. no guilt.

Jane Flanagan said...

Beautiful artwork - I especially am drawn to the fifth image down.

Thanks for the shout-out. It means so much that you relate.

Sophia said...

The visuals today are quite strong but melancholic. The darkness in the background of the portaits suggests that those individuals may be survivors or fighters but with losses too. That feeling has been evident through (all) my life so far and often isolation is my armour against a society with whom I have a hate/love relationship.

Laura said...

These are so beautiful - the muted tones appeal to me too. The last image reminds me of Klimt's paintings, but more mysterious looking. (Mysterious wasn't quite the word I wanted, but I can't put my finger on it right now!)

Blaze said...

I'm definitely checking out her post. I love hearing how other artists, writers, and bloggers think and feel. Beautiful images - I especially like the pieces with landscapes in the background.

Stephanie said...

I can't believe how much I related to Jane's

And these paintings are amazing. Thank you for sharing them.

hungryandfrozen said...

Glorious images. Very haunting and evocative. And I love the animals that appear.

"Shoulding" is a fantastic word, I think I do it to myself a bit too much too! Off to read her post now.

Sasha said...

There's something about these paintings that resonate with me. Maybe it has something to do with the muted hues as you suggest. I also want to say that I can relate to Jane's post as well. "Shoulding" seems to be an unfortunately common thing. Oh well, awareness is the first step to change (a change accepting and appreciating one's own personality).

Jo said...

"a celebration of solitude"...yes! this speaks to me. i'm off to explore the links you've provided. beautiful!

elliottwithlove said...

"I'm so exhausted lately, by myself, by others, by expectations, by my own personality." I've been feeling the same way too, and while the experience itself is unpleasant I find some solace in knowing that I'm not the only one who feels this way every so often.

Also, thank you for sharing these beautiful and haunting artworks. I too find myself calmed — soothed, even? — by them.

Hila said...

Naomi: I agree, there is something haunting about these paintings.

Rooth: yes, it's because the faces are so sensitively painted.

Becky: Lucky you, I'd love to see it in a gallery or a museum.

Monica: I feel guilt because I suppose there's this expectation of sociability in our culture, especially when you're young. But I'm tired of fighting my personality, and I do think there's a positive side to being contemplative and introverted too.

Jane: Sometimes I just feel like linking all your posts, I relate to so many things you write.

Sophia: yeah, these paintings do have a 'survivors' tone to them, I know what you mean.

Laura: Klimt's work is more decorative I find, so yes, that last image is more about the atmosphere than the decoration I suppose.

Blaze: Jane has a great way of expressing exactly how I feel sometimes, it's uncanny.

Stephanie: yes, I suspect a lot of people can relate to Jane's post.

hungryandfrozen: I'd love to stop 'shoulding' myself, it's so counter-productive.

Sasha: I think we get told what we 'should' be all the time, so it's hard not to internalise that. I wish I knew how to stop it.

Jo: I crave some solitude at the moment!

elliottwithlove: It's nice to know somebody understands :) It would be nice to snap my fingers and change my personality sometimes.