Three Figures: Pink and Grey

“All true Artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness.” 

James Abbott NcNeill Whistler

James Abbott McNeill Whistler – Three Figures: Pink and Grey 1868–78


I’ll be spending the weekend with James Abbott NcNeill Whistler and his painting Three Figures: Pink and Grey 1868 – 78.  The original painting is hidden away in a vault at the Tate Gallery, London.  But for the next two days, this painting will be featured in my residence.

My art calendar is prominently displayed on a bookshelf in my front entrance.  Whenever I enter or leave my home, I am reminded to seek beauty and creativity in my daily routine.  For art brings the extraordinary into our lives, allowing us to glimpse at alternative possibilities.

The vision of three women caring for a plant is especially meaningful for me today.  Vancouver’s sky is filled with acrid smoke coming from forest fires that rage across interior British Columbia. The sun has disappeared and an uneasy coolness has descended upon our fair city.

The symbol of three women is embedded in our most ancient mythologies and continues to be recognized in our modern societies.  In this painting, I see the gentle, watchful care given to nature. I feel a resilient determination to protect and safeguard a flowering cherry tree.

As with any art piece, there is a backstory.  There was another painting before Pink and Grey.  Alas, “The White Symphony:  Three Girls,” which was finished in 1867, was lost.  How this could happen is mystifying to me.

James Whistler was never satisfied with the Pink and Grey, however I find there is depth of character, a reverence in the delicate flowers, the muted pinks and grays set against a turquoise background.

It speaks to my inner stillness.






18 Replies to “Three Figures: Pink and Grey”

  1. Wonderful & very interesting! Sad to hear about the fires! Take care.
    I think this is a new Theme? It looks fab! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Resa! I have been checking out all the new themes and finding they are becoming even more interesting and exciting than when I first opened the blog doors. The fires have abated and the clear air has returned. Breathing deeply…. Hugs!!


  2. Just discovered this blog of yours… hurray !!!!
    And what an exquisite painting by Whistler.. love the subtlety and the gentle colours and subject matter… three graces, how awful that it’s hidden in the vaults at the Tate…


    1. Oh, Valerie! How wonderful to read your comments. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to have this painting on display. If I didn’t have my art calendar as my daily companion, I would never have known about it’s existence. I can only imagine what it would be like to venture into the vaults of the Tate. Oh, the treasures we would find, the stories that would be waiting for us…I get goosebumps even thinking about it!


  3. 1 a.m. and I’m just now online after several attempts over this week… haven’t checked any news, etc, but am hoping that things are better in your corner of the world.

    will be online for the next few days and will catch up….

    presently in transit between the coast and the cloud forest – I took a new route which added two hours to the trip – ja – but i smiled for most of that drive and saw parts of the country perhaps even the locals haven’t seen!

    should reach mindo by late morning and will be catching up…….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, my dear friend for your message. I love being a part of your travels. New roads lead to new adventures and fresh perspectives. The fires in the BC Interior continue but rains and a gentle wind from the ocean is reducing the smoke coverage. Still doing a rain dance every morning. Hugs and more hugs coming your way.


  4. I have the same painting on my divider shelf and I enjoy and love it. It reminds me of the beauty of nature all around us if we take time to enjoy. What a challenge and joy to be those who try to find ways to preserve and treasure it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am so glad that you are enjoying the calendar! I have already ordered our 2018 Calendars and am looking forward to the many new adventures that each day will bring!


    1. What a spectacular vision, so rightly named Nocturne in Black and Gold – there is music coming from the depths of gold. What I find most interesting is how Whistler connects visual and audio elements within his artwork, with words like symphony and nocturne. As well, how his love for Japanese art influenced his creative spirit. I have had an art calendar for over 10 years. I keep the “years” in my “calendar vault” for safekeeping much like the Tate Gallery keeps Three Figures: Pink & Grey.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Once again you have inspired me – I have my own ‘vault’ of pictures and images saved from magazines/calendars over the years. I had been starting to wonder whether I should just chuck it all out, but can see what a shame this would be! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It always intrigues me to think of all the paintings that are in storage in museums and that are seldom displayed. So pleased you will see this one.
    I have heard so much about the fires in BC – it is frightening to think about, for the homes, the nature, the wildlife. I hope the rain will come sooner than they anticipate.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am performing a rain dance every morning and night. Vancouver has had an extremely dry summer , which is surprising given that we are situated within what is considered a rainforest. There is rain on the horizon according to my trusty weather app.
      I share your interest in how paintings are preserved, catalogued and archived. Projects like Google’s Arts & Culture and Wikipedia Commons have brought art to our fingertips. This is the best of technology advances.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. No wonder it speaks to your inner stillness, such a serene scene. And those colours! I can see the Japanese influences on Whistler there. It’s far removed from daily realities like noise and forest fires, and yet it is a familiar scene, one that we can imagine taking place all over the world at this very moment.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. How well said: “far removed from daily realities.” We are surrounded by noise, complexities and paradoxes. I love Pablo Picasso’s thought, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” This is a familiar scene – a seemingly mundane task that becomes remarkable because we see it through the eyes of an artist. Thank you for stopping by. I enjoy our conversations.

      Liked by 1 person

You're welcome to join the dialogue!

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.