Violet (and art by Matisse, O’Keeffe, and Rothko -Part 1)

VIOLET is the word for Suellewellyn’s challenge, which is to post a photograph, poem, story, or any genre we choose to depict the word.  I already wanted to share a post about ART from Matisse, O’Keeffe, and Rothko this week – and these just so happen to fit this word violet.  Here’s why.

For starters – The Fauvist painter – Henri Matisse has two paintings of women decked out in purple.

Two works are  Woman in Purple Coat and Purple Robe and Anemones:

matisse art with purple robes


However, did you know that violet has more blue in it than purple?  Well purple sits closer to red on the color wheel – and so purple is much warmer than violet.  

And so that leads me to Georgia O’keeffes’ lovely painting, White Rose with Larkspur No. 2.  – Because it has the cooler hue of “violet blue”  – and I love how the Larkspur anchors and pulls you through….


The third art picture that came to mind for this color word – is an untitled piece by Mark 1MAA69Rothko.  But here’s the thing.  There has been debate about this piece.  First, debate about the year it was made – recorded as 1952, but it may have been 1951.  Also, instead of leaving it UNtitled, the piece is referred to as Untitled [Blue, Green, and Brown].   

Did you notice that in the subtitle they do NOT list “purple” or even violet – but when you look at the painting it screams that hue.  Well it is likely because of the blue, or indigo, that the Rothko used as this piece unfolded.

(And I once heard that indigo and violet actually refer to the same sequence in the color spectrum , but indigo was left in to avoid using the number 6 – !#?)

Anyhow, Rothko is noted for changing his mind about finished pieces – which ties into tomorrow’s post, which will have part 2 on these three artists!




In closing, while I know violet and purple are not exactly the same- but they are often used on the same value scale – and with that in mind – here is a fun Purple Poem by Jenny Joseph

When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat that doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me,
And I shall spend my pension
on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals,
and say we’ve no money for butter.

I shall sit down on the pavement when I am tired,
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells,
And run my stick along the public railings,
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people’s gardens,
And learn to spit.

You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat,
And eat three pounds of sausages at a go,
Or only bread and pickle for a week,
And hoard pens and pencils and beer mats
and things in boxes.

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry,
And pay our rent and not swear in the street,
And set a good example for the children.
We will have friends to dinner and read the papers.
But maybe I ought to practise a little now?
So people who know me
are not too shocked and surprised,
When suddenly I am old
and start to wear purple!

*** Have a nice Monday! ***

I sure have enjoyed the creative takes on this word,

and I invite you to join in on the challenge, too.

30 thoughts on “Violet (and art by Matisse, O’Keeffe, and Rothko -Part 1)

  1. Ever read Rothko’s book “The Artist’s Reality” that was published posthumously? I read it three or four times back in the day, I really enjoyed it. One of the better Art Criticism books written by an artist.


      1. one more side note – I actually do NOT really care for Rothko’s work – I appreciate his “fields” color – and the book you refer to is critically acclaimed (and I long to finish my read of it) but I personally would not want his work hanging in my house or work space.
        I appreciate Rothko’s work – but nothing that I want to visually soak up every day. He was often commissioned by restaurants for murals, and maybe in my head I see his large canvasses of color transfusion as more suited for eateries – but I say that with no disrespect to his work….


  2. A violet haze! And such a wonderful poem! Reminded me of one of George Carlin’s stand up comedies. How children and old people have similar ways of looking at the world.


    1. Violet haze….” was in my brain….” – u berry funny dude… 😉

      and Vass, I am not sure of the Carlin episode you refer to -but I did watch his stand up act – get this -while I was baby-sitting in 8th grade – would watch Fraggle Rock with the kids, then when they went to bed it was a bit of Carlin – and Richard Pryor -LOL – but thankfully it was mostly clean stuff and I was protected for the most part.


      1. Even though I rarely use language that may offend people (when I do their surprise is much bigger, because they know I mean it) I think that Carlin’s attitude towards the language is similar to mine. There are no bad words. The context gives them such a meaning. Also, I try to see the core of the joke, even if I don’t agree with the meaning he tried to convey. And after he passed a certain age, it was pretty difficult to understand when he was ironic, sarcastic or true. So I always went for the fun trigger and took the things that appealed to me from the rest. He was a master of words and that is why he is missed. Richard Prior on the other hand, used cursing with a different approach. Surprise. Building a story, rather than tossing ideas in a funny way. Some of his best reminded me of Bill Cosby’s plus the sexual innuendos and the plentiful cursing. I am a big fun of stand up and spoken word / comedy. Have over 200 records, that I rarely listen to anymore… But another post, another time!


      2. ooo – well said Vass – and I think that is exactly how certain “words” are to be used – as “power words” and maybe to go with strong emotion – instead of overused as class-less adjectives!!
        or as you note…”when I do their surprise is much bigger, because they know I mean it…”

        I had no idea that Carlin was such “a master of words…” I like how you describe him – and regarding RP – well, when for the first 5 or so years of my marriage – my similar last name led to some bonding with people because they would ask if I was related to Richard (but we spell our names different – he used y and we use i) and well, nobody hardly ever brings it up anymore – miss that fun joking….

        anyhow, here is an example of some good (and clean) stand up that my boys enjoy:


  3. I was admiring the vibrance of Matisse until I got down to the O’Keefe. That is staggeringly lovely! 🙂 You’ve put together a fine violet post, and I’m already turning into that quirky old lady.


    1. The O’keeffe one grabs me as well – and I debated about leaving the museum title – but whew, can you imagine how much prettier the in-person canvas is (photos of art hardly ever do the piece justice, ya know). Have a great day….


    1. thx 🙂
      I also enjoyed your recent post with all those vintage ads/signs – and that Pepsi had an old ad that said “more ounce to the bounce…”


  4. What a beautiful post and I so love the colours. Must be because I am getting old as well and one of these days I can recite that poem too..hahahaha. Thanks for sharing. 😀


  5. I always enjoy your engaging posts with information about art and artists. Today I particularly love the poem about growing old though! What a smile I have on my face.


    1. Hey Meghan – thanks for the nice comment – and glad you like that poem – and well, this post feels so old to me – even though I only wrote it 3 months ago – funny how that feels “long” – hope you are doing well this week. I am on my way to your blog right now. ❤


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