Blog, The Fantasy Realm

A Fantasy Realm Tale: The Museum of Moving Paintings


*The following is a transcript of a WHUS Radio FM broadcast aired on Wednesday, March 6, 2019 from 1-2 PM along with the music used to accompany the story*


{Legends of Azeroth (From “World of Warcraft”) – Salome Scheidegger – Play: A Video Game and Anime Album}

Good afternoon, traveler. You have stepped into a portal here on WHUS Storrs and are now in the Fantasy Realm. Welcome. I am your guide, the Sage. Today, we travel back in time to the 1870’s in France to see the museum of moving paintings. For your enjoyment, I recommend creating a character to follow along. Are you a Parisian born and raised, or are you a foreigner hoping to get a glance at the latest in art and literature? Are you a member of the wealthy and high society? Or perhaps you are a member of the lower class who found a lucky chance to visit the Salon de Paris? Are you an artist, a poet, a novelist, a musician? You get the decide, and best think quick, traveler, your story is about to begin.

{Cambridge, 1963 – Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything OST}

Bonjour et Bienvenue. Welcome to France, 1872. L’Academie des Beaux-Arts is holding their annual Salon de Paris tomorrow, and you are attending. The Salon de Paris is where the most prestigious works of art are presented to the world, all selected by a jury.

Though the jury has been a bit more accepting of the works of art allowed on display, they have not extended that same hand of kindness to a new generation of artists known as impressionists. It’s been a bit of a scandal. The impressionists have held their own salon: Le Salon des Refusées, the Salon of Rejects. However, there is a rumor amongst the Parisians that the Academie may be biting its own tongue tomorrow.

You are staying at a local bed and breakfast just outside the city, near a grand garden. You decide to take a nice stroll in the area. You pass by a boulangerie and the smell of baguettes entices you to approach the store. Petite madeleines and colorful macarons are on display next to puffy croissants, gorgeous tartes aux fruits, and simply well-done eclairs.

Do you stop to buy something and have a taste?

{Is That a Kiss? – James Newton Howard – Peter Pan OST}

You continue your stroll into a nearby garden. The garden is immense, with beautiful topiaries and pale beige paths. Stray cats silently roam around the area as you follow a path deep into a heavily forested part of the garden. The sun peeks through the trees, a shy warmth filling you up like honey tea. The garden urges you to take slow steps as you approach a pond with a bridge.

As you pass over the bridge, you see a strange path leading into a well-hidden part of the garden. The path curves like ribbons thrown carelessly on a carpet, and as you keep walking, you see the tone of the peaceful garden turn a bit more theatrical.

The trees and shrubs take on pastel colors, and they’re shaped as if a cloud of giddiness sits on them. The flowers sparkle as if ready to be picked for a flower crown, and you feel a sensation of wanting to skip through the fields wearing the fanciest attire Paris has to offer. It all has become very fairy-like and fantastical, as if walking through a rococo painting.

Continuing on the strange path, you find yourself facing a cottage with a sign that says “The Museum of Moving Paintings” and it is a sore sight compared to the dream-like forest.

{The Last Bloom – Audiomachine – La Belle Époque}

The museum itself looks like a cottage made of clay by a child who has decided to become a sculptor only a few minutes ago simply because the child likes the feeling of clay in their hands. It is a bland color, and if it weren’t for the rose bushes out front, nothing would have called you to approach it. Yet even the roses have lost their luster.

The sign is written with gray paint on a wooden plank painted white. It’s crooked where it stands, yet it seems to fit right in with the scene.

Standing in front of the cottage, you feel a bit odd. You can see the cottage and yet the details are missing. The absence doesn’t bother you; it’s just something you notice. Even the wind starts to feel a bit strange.

There is a texture to the scene that seems tangible, but if one were to touch it, then the whole scene would be disturbed and never look the same again.

The cottage door swings open, compelled by a sudden gust of wind. A waft of acrylic colors consumes you. The blank canvas of the door invites you in, and so you do. Inside, you find a beautiful salon, as if you were in the Louvre itself. The quiet sounds like the perfect soundtrack for its halls and all the walls have different paintings of different sizes.

There, awaiting you, is an elderly man with a newsboy cap.

{Severus and Lily – Alexandre Desplat – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2 OST}

The old man pulls out a cigarette and a match as he moves to the front desk.
“Bonjour. Ca va?”

The old man is comfortable in his elderly skin, his wrinkles framing his eyes like the final touch to a portrait. The smoke from his cigarette hangs over his shoulder the way an umbrella rests on yours when you’ve been in the rain a long time. He smells of cigarettes and roses. He wears dark gray clothing which seems to weigh him down. He walks as if he’s just woken up with no desire to be awake just yet. His eyes are glassy and the color of raindrops. His shoulders are droopy and his lips are tired of moving. His voice is low and whispery, like the feeling of a cotton curtain. He speaks as though he is desperate to comment without having the guards throw him out for being too loud. If it weren’t for the gloom and gray, he’d be a lovely companion for a trip to any museum.

“Bienvenue a ma maison. Welcome to my home. Would you like a tour?” He asks. You accept the offer and pay the entry.

He tells you to wait a moment when he goes grab a few things before the tour begins.

As he waddles away, you take in some of the ambience.

Like the old man, the museum smells like cigarettes and roses, but it’s not at all unpleasant. The space is large and inviting. The floorboards are rustic, and the walls are a creme color, allowing the colorful paintings room to breathe.

On the far wall behind the desk, there is a painting and you’re intrigued by it.

Cluttered colors cover the canvas, but with a quick glimpse, you see a woman on a field facing the ocean with a gray dog next to her.

You approach the painting to admire it. You move your head slightly from left to right. You can see each paint brush stroke and each intentional decision made by the artist. You stay still and notice the woman’s dress is still moving.

Her dress is flowing with a wind you cannot feel. Then, the dog’s fur begins to sway with the same invisible wind. The grass blades start to move as well, brushing up against the woman’s ankles hidden underneath her dress. As the waves start to move, you don’t realize that your peripheral vision begins to be filled with the colors of the impressionist painting. You also don’t notice the sounds emerging: the crashing of ocean waves and the whooshing of wild winds filling up your ears. You are completely immersed in the moving painting. The frame and the cottage are gone as you begin to feel the grass blades tickling your own ankles. You don’t realize any of this until you hear the old man return with a handkerchief in his palm.

Coming back to reality is abrupt and jarring. It is the same as when one wakes up from a nap they never intended on taking.

He is looking at the painting by your side and in a whisper, he says, “Ma Belle Noémie…”

He takes another puff of his cigarette and then says, “Noémie Desjardins was born a farmer’s daughter in the north of France. The family’s only daughter, she was taught to do it all from milking the cows, to fetching the eggs to baking the bread to selling the meat. She was a gift to them, until she learned her true gift. She was a writer.”

He shakes his head and leads you to the other side of the museum.

His name is Emile. He clarifies that no, he is not Emile Zola nor could he ever be a writer. He says the paper would crunch itself up and throw itself away if he tried to do what Noémie could.

Emile has been a painter since he was a child and has always strayed away from the mundane the Academie tries to impose on artists.

“Of course,” he says, “we now have Manet, Cezanne, Pissarro and their Salon des Refusées to spite the Academie. Good for them. I want no part of it. I need no validation from Paris. I have my museum.”

Emile takes you to a hallway at the far end of the museum, and as you walk, you realize you have a tour with the artist of these paintings. Before the tour begins, you have a chance to ask a question. What question would you ask an impressionist painter, traveler, now that you’ve the chance?

{A Time for Us (Theme from the Film “Romeo & Juliet”) – Nino Rota, André Rieu & The Johann Strauss Orchestra – Rieu: Romantic Moments}

“Let’s begin down this hall, shall we?” You follow the old man down the hall and see the first painting of his tour: a portrait of a woman. She is plain save for her rosy cheeks, and her hair is brown like tempered chocolate. Her eyes are sweet, yet sad, yearning.

“I met her in Paris the day she published her first book under her pseudonym: Nicolas Dupont. Gifted she was, but born in the wrong time. A woman writing? Nonsense! L’Academie would hear none of it, and so the people followed. She wasn’t Olympe de Gouges or even Madame de La Fayette. No, she was a writer of true life, and no one wanted to read it. She was an impressionist for words before the impressionists even got their name. Of course, everyone is happy to read her work under Nicholas Dupont’s name, and so she published her first book.

“I wanted to capture her beauty, so I asked if she’d be willing to be my subject one day as I am a painter, and she said yes. She had no plans the next day, and so we met near this very garden. Half way through the painting, I realized I never wanted to stop painting her.

“I asked her to dinner the next day, but I am a poor artist with no name. So, I decided then I would cook her something. Imagine the amount of wine I had drunk that day to think of such a silly idea. I had never cooked before! Why would I try for the first time to impress this young woman? Ah, well, the baker at the boulangerie knew more than just breads, and she helped me. I made an exquisite meal, well as exquisite as it can get with what little ingredients I had, and she loved it. She loved every minute of our dinner together, and as did I. The evening ended with a nice glass of wine and a kiss with ma belle Noémie.

“We fell in love. Two artists trying to understand the world fell in the trap the world forever promised us with the first story we know of mother and father. Now, another mystery to solve with our pen and paint brushes. At least we were passionate enough to take on the endeavor. Any other would fall into despair, depression and darkness. I never met such a fate. I had ma belle Noémie figuring out the tangles of life with me.”

The portrait moves. Noémie gives you a quick glance and grin before a subtle sadness takes over. It is not her sadness, however. It’s very much a sadness passed unknowingly onto the canvas by the artist.

You move onto the next painting. It is the outside of a chapel. As soon as the old man begins to speak, the painting begins to move, and you see people begin to stroll through the square as an eager couple runs to the chapel holding hands.

{Married Life – Michael Giacchino – Up OST}

“We married only a few months afterward. We tried to keep it civil, but really there was no point. She was the one for me, and I was the one for her. It was more than just romance and artist camaraderie. C’est… ah bon, parce que c’était lui, et parce que c’était moi.

“We moved into this cottage, the only one in the area we could afford, but we made it our own. I’m not afraid to admit she kept the food on our table. Oui, Nicolas Dupont sold many, many novels, and I sold not a single painting. I was an impressionist before Degas, Manet, Monet, all those who have been fighting with L’Academie des Beaux-Arts, and I never joined their fight, because all my paintings weren’t for the world. They were for her.”

The next painting was a moving image of a picnic of Emile with Noémie, the beautiful writer. They laughed together, with glasses of wine in their hands.

“We did everything together, and we both lived the life we wanted. As she wrote, I painted, and as I painted, she wrote. We both had agreed to not have any children. It was just not something either of us wanted, and it suited us fine.

“It was her idea to make this place into a museum, you know? Oui, she said, well, if the Academie doesn’t want your work displayed, I do. She rearranged our entire home, just so my paintings could have the proper space to be on display. She even made the sign out front, her first hand at painting.”

You move onto the next painting, which is of her, painting the sign out front. She has paint all over her face, and as the painting begins to move, you see her laughing, looking back at you. You can hear her laugh. It is soft like feathers, but gleeful like a sprinkling waterfall at a pond.

“Our lives were colorful together. We attended plays and symphonies. We walked through the markets every Sunday, and we baked cookies together every Sunday evening. I would read her latest work, and she would look at my latest painting. Every night, I would have my glass of wine and she would have her cup of tea. Sometimes when we felt silly, we would go to the nearest park just to look at the dogs. If we could, we’d even play with them. My life truly would have been the most borish life in this world if it weren’t for Noémie. Even on sad days, I could not see what better person to be with than with her. We helped each other to be better people. What better relationship could there be? I cannot think of one.”

His smile became contagious as he told his story, and a smile blossoms on your face, until melancholy spread across his. He sighs a most dreadful sigh.

“Our lives were so colorful until the sickness hit. The doctors called it cholera, and there wasn’t much they could do. Right on the outskirts of Paris, and yet we’ve not a coin to pay for any help.”

The painting you see next is subtle in its movement, but you do see it. Noémie is in bed, her chest is barely rising and falling. Her eyes are half closed and the window is open, letting in fresh air. However, even the bird calls that you start to hear are weak and sad.

“She was pale to begin with, that plain girl, but the sickness took away her rosy cheeks. That is what killed me the most inside. I threw out all my red paint that day. All of it. Wasted a lot of money, oui, but at the time, I was distraught.”

Though you don’t see it, as you stare at the painting, you can hear Emile screaming, throwing his paint at the walls. His yelling is painted with the darkest color pain can provide, and even then, with a touch of black, the darkest color could not match his voice. Even the painting itself seems distraught.

{Hymn to the Sea – James Horner & Orchestra – Titanic OST}

As if the hand that painted it could not stop shaking and that the colors were mixed with tears rather than water. There are no words.

As you pull away from the painting and it goes back to stillness, you hear Emile lighting a new cigarette as he sniffs away his tears.

He explains that she didn’t want him to see her die. She wanted him to remember her well and happy.

She decided to move away, back to the North of France with her family. She sent many letters, describing her days to him, and so, to fill the void, he would paint what she’d describe. He’d paint her milking a cow, with her gray dog, washing clothes by a river, making bread in the kitchen, writing by a fireplace, and it is all displayed in the museum.

The paintings all start to move as you enter a large room with Noémie’s moments of life on the walls. You can hear a gentle wave of countryside sounds. The room is mellow with the warmth of springtime afternoons in a rose garden.

Alongside the paintings, you can see the letters she sent Emile. Some are old and wrinkly like the back of Emile’s hand. Some are stained with coffee and chocolate. Each one had her handwriting. Her handwriting is elegantly sloppy, each letter in a rush to get to the next but still aware of the importance to look its best with a nice curve or straight line. You read a few and start to hear her voice, the glee in her tone overcompensating for the distance of her loved one and her sickness.

She desperately wanted him to see the happiness rather than to focus on the end, and yet the inevitable will always find a way to seep through one’s concentration on the positive.

He could tell her health had worsened once she started to talk about things she desperately wanted to do and could not because she was bedridden.

So, he would paint her doing the things she wanted, and he wrote to her, telling her, her spirit was enjoying what her body could not. She’d visit the ocean with her dog and simply stare at it. She’d sunbathe in a field of sunflowers or lavenders. She’d ride a horse through the forest if she could learn how. She’d finish another book and sell it with her real name: Noémie Desjardins.

In her last letter, she told him she had a dream of them together in their museum of moving paintings doing what they loved doing best: her writing and him painting. She told him she loved him dearly, and he could not bear read the rest.

He takes some time for himself and allows you to explore the museum at your leisure.

How do you explore a museum, traveler? Do you walk through it quickly or do you take your time viewing each piece on display?

The next week, he got a letter from her mother telling him that she had died in her sleep. That night, he couldn’t sleep so he painted what he imagined her last moments were: on a field with her gray dog in front of the ocean.

Then, he kept going. He kept painting moments of her life that she had told him about. He imagined her as a child and painted her playing with wooden spoons as her mother cooked. He imagined her playing games with other children of northern France. He painted her as a plain girl, save for her rosy cheeks, which were often the boldest color in the paintings.

He then imagined her as an old woman, but he couldn’t bring himself to finish it. He hadn’t painted for years, until a few months ago where he started a new piece.

You ask him if you can see this new piece. He says no, shaking his head vigorously, out of shyness. Can you convince him, traveler?

Well done, traveler. He takes you to his space in the backyard where his canvas is still set up.

{Primavera – Ludovico Einaudi – Divenire}

It is a painting of the cottage, just as you saw it when you walked through the path in the garden. He captured it perfectly.

The pastel colors of the outside, a blend of spring and bliss on a canvas, a whisper of rococo through an impressionist’s eyes. Then, just to the right a bit, is the plain cottage, however, in the painting, though still plain, it has more life than anything else. The roses are vibrant and the creases in the cottage make it seem real. In the true style of an impressionist, when you step closer, you see each individual color and brush stroke, all bundled together like a basket of rose petals, to make one single image. It is a masterpiece.

“It is not done, but it is almost there. Would you care for some tea?”

You accept the request. What kind of tea would you prefer?

While he’s off making the tea, you study his space a bit more. You notice all the paint scattered on a round wooden table. The table is covered in dried splotches of paint. A cup is filled to the brim with fresh water, though the outside is covered in smudges and spots. His palette is caked in acrylics and oils. You wouldn’t even be able to tell if it was made of wood or not. Paintbrushes and pencils are piled up in a corner near some napkins that have rough sketches on them.

He comes back and tells you you’re welcome to sit and enjoy the day with your tea as he completes his piece.

You take the offer and sit with a nice hot cup of tea in hand. You stare out into the garden first, admiring nature, but your eyes start to helplessly shift to see the artist at work.

Emile is brilliant. Confidence grips onto his knuckles and guides his hand across the canvas. His eyebrows are furrowed as he paints, but the concentration in his eyes is soft. His eyes need not see the minute details that a painter of realism would.

His eyes are focused on what the eyes see when the eyes are not looking. He is focused on a world that comes at a glance, where focus is not needed. He moves around as he paints, capturing every angle he can with the subtle shift of his ankle. The fresh air seems to help him breathe, for his breathing is slow and steady. He keeps a cigarette tucked behind his ear, but he doesn’t reach up for it. He’s too busy painting.

You are captivated as he quietly paints, completely in awe of how an artist who can bring something to life on a canvas once empty. How an artist can see what is missing when your own eyes see perfection. Watching this artist at work gives you a peek into the world of the arts.

Though in today’s world, we see more and more motivated minds go for the sciences, we often forget that the backbone of every science is the passion of an artist. An artist is simply bettering the world in the way they know best. Yes, the art cannot please everyone, and yes, the art may reach hardly anyone compared to another artists’ work. However, it is imperative for an artist to love the work they do, or else they are begging for a life of disappointment.  

When an artist begins to create, it is more often than not because a voice in their heart tells them, this is the time to ponder your view of the world. As you grow older, the artform changes drastically from person to person, but it is all in the name of reflecting on our perspective and improving what we believe can be improved in the world we live in.

Those who are artists are brave for they seek to obtain the vastness of a child’s imagination one can never possibly obtain once in adulthood, for as we grow, our imagination becomes limited with the ideas we are given of society’s standards. Those who are artists are attempting to find the limitless with new tools a child does not have. How brave to venture on an impossible journey for most.

As you continue to stare, you almost feel as though you are intruding. This moment feels intimate. He lays bear his heart and soul on a textured page and you are an outsider looking in.

In that moment you stand and walk away to look at other parts of the garden, leaving him his space to paint. Although your ears are still perked to hear the subtle scratches of the paintbrush bristles hitting the masterpiece.

When he finishes his painting and sets it for its final coating for protection, he invites you to stay, but you politely refuse. You have a friend who works for L’Academie you intend to visit and you mustn’t be late.

“Ah, well, enjoy the salon. I shall not be there. I never go. As I said, my paintings are for my Noémie and her museum. Do come back and visit.”

As you say your goodbyes, a thought begins to form in your head, and it is a thought as complex as any work of art.

{London, 1988 – Johann Johannsson – The Theory of Everything OST}

As you wait for your friend at a cafe, a wild thought occurs to you. When he comes to greet you and you order some light food, you ask him if there is space for one more painting.

He says this is difficult but possible. Is there a painting you have in mind, he asks.

Your mind drifts back to Emile painting his latest work. The brilliance of his painting overtakes you, and you want nothing more than for people to see his work.

You explain this to your friend. He considers it, and he accepts. He explains he can’t promise a nice spot for the painting, but it’ll be displayed for people to see.

You’re happy that you’ve managed a space for Emile, but you remember his words. He will not go to the salon. He most definitely will not want his art displayed.

However, you are convinced this painting will change the tides of the art world and bring impressionism to the forefront. This is the painting that will make the Academie change its mind about the impressionists who have been trying to get their art into the salon for years. And when it is successful, Emile would have visitors come to admire his art in his own museum and he will finally have sold a piece of his own art.

You know, though, that he will not hear all this if you ask, and the painting is needed tomorrow morning for it to be displayed. So, you listen to the little devil on your shoulder and you decide to steal Emile’s painting.

You return to the cottage in the dead of night. The air outside is unnaturally cold. It feels brittle as you walk through the garden.

Everything is basked in darkness, but you manage to find the cottage due to a lantern left out front by Emile. The light of the lantern asks for your company, but you are not here to accompany the lonely.

You are here to snatch up a work of art.

You make your way to the backyard which is far darker than the rest of the garden. You are carefully tiptoeing around until you stub your toe on the easel. You whisper a quick ouch and feel around for a good grip on the painting.

You then take it, all the while thinking this will not only be good for the art world, but it will be good for Emile.

{Nero – Two Steps From Hell – Archangel}

The Salon has an air of the wealthy to it. Elegance coats the rooms with her enticing scent. The leisure time to view art so esteemed gives the space a high standard of quality. Men and women alike are dressed in their best. Full skirts are elegantly dragged across the polished floors. The garments of women are as colorful as the paintings that adorn the walls, and the men accompanying them have on their best suits. Light refreshments are being passed around to accompany the light chatter of the salon. The people stroll about and casually stop to glance at a painting.

You stand near Emile’s painting, hidden in a corner near a window. You admire the painting. It is just as marvelous as it was in the garden thanks to the sun peaking through the window.

You are nervous, though, about what others may think of it. You try not to think about it too much.

However, you can’t help yourself and look. You see people give it a quick glance and walk away. Their faces are often empty, seeing nothing.

You’re baffled, not understanding how they couldn’t see the wind moving the trees or the house’s chimney with moving smoke or even the clouds slowly moving to the other side of the canvas. How can people not see the magic?

You look to the crowd and see that they’re staring elsewhere. People begin to crowd a particular painting, so you go to check on it.

An impressionist piece by Claude Monet has stolen the attention of everyone in the salon.

It’s named “Impression: Sunrise” and it is a bold blue piece with subtle hints of orange red to keep the gaze. It is extraordinarily simple in its design, yet complex in its execution. It has many whisperings about its beauty and intrigue.

This is the painting that made the Academie bite their tongue about the Impressionists, or at least begin to make them see that a new movement is on the horizon for art.

It is not, however, Emile’s piece, as you wanted. Though this painting captures your soul in such a way you can’t explain, you cannot forget the moving paintings of Emile. Those have a magic unique to that of Claude Monet.

Feeling defeated, you turn back to Emile’s painting. The elegance starts to dim and the mutters start to fade from your ears. As you saunter back to Emile’s painting, you feel yourself detach from the crowd. Now, you simply hear the elegance. You are no longer a part of it.

{The Personality of Autumn – Audiomachine – Life}

You look at Emile’s painting again and wait for it to start moving. The buzz of the city outside the window takes over the sounds of the salon, save for the clinking of glasses behind you. You feel the presence of silence as it accompanies admiration in the halls.

You still wait…

And nothing. Nothing happens at all. The painting is still. There is no movement whatsoever.

Though still brilliant in its own right, it feels as though something is missing. The painting is not complete without its movement.

You approach it a bit to see if it’s the distance. You move your head back and forth to see if that will help, but nothing gets the painting to move.

As you continue to stare, you think back to Emile and what he said about how these paintings are meant for Noémie and the museum.

These paintings are not meant to change the world of art nor to change the Academie’s mind. Emile’s paintings are meant to keep his house warm from the cold left behind with the death of his love. You know their story well, and you know that the warmth of the cottage is nothing compared to that of the Salon’s.

The magic comes from the memories Emile has brought to life of Noémie’s, and the magic cannot be found if the memories are gone.

You suddenly feel a flush of more admiration for this painting, for another layer has been added onto the paint. Its colors begin to get a bit brighter.

You think of the stories Emile told you about Noémie. You think of their time together writing and painting, on picnics and in the park, with glasses of wine and batches of cookies.

Thinking of it all, you start to wonder if this will be enough for the painting to start moving again.

It is not. The others in the salon do not have these memories to recall the way you do. You are almost disappointed once again, but you remember Emile and his words.

An artist spends their life creating art for themselves or for others they care for. A mindless visitor in a museum will never have the same connection an artist has with their painting. That does not mean the painting cannot be admired. It simply means the art serves its purpose elsewhere.

You continue to stare at it when someone comes to stand next to you, also to admire the painting. You take a quick glance and see that it is the artist, Emile himself.

{Sadness and Sorrow (Naruto) – Taylor Davis – Gaming Fantasy}

Your heart flutters anxiously. You are sure he is angry for your thievery. Your fingers start to frantically tap your thighs. The sounds of the city and the salon overwhelm your ears. Your eyes are fixated on the top right corner of the frame holding Emile’s painting. However, you cannot stay stagnant forever.

You take a deep, cleansing breath and turn toward him.

He does not turn to look at you, and he doesn’t even acknowledge you for the longest time.

When he does speak, he speaks so softly, you can hardly hear him.

“It looks quite nice up there, doesn’t it? The window adds to it, I think… Noémie would be proud. She always wanted to see my work in one of these places. She would say the world doesn’t know the beauty of an artist’s work until it’s far too late.”

The silence between you two stretches in the same way the silence stretches when an artist stares at the blank canvas before the first mark.

Then, he says, “Merci. I know she is so happy seeing my work here, wherever she is… I miss her. I miss her…”

{Love Death Birth (From “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1”) – The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra – Music From The Twilight Saga}

You know that Noémie wanted him to sell a painting the way she sold her novels, but she never got to see it happen. Now, perhaps you can make it happen.

You explore the streets of Paris throughout the day with pamphlets you made with information about Emile’s museum. You are determined to get new visitors for the museum of moving paintings. You encourage people to go and see the spectacular wonders of the moving artwork. You explain that this is the impressionist style, same to that of Claude Monet whose painting was very popular at the Salon.

Most ignore you, simply because they do not see the value of impressionism the way you do. It is still too early to see the art movement really come into play in the world of art.

Often times the greatness of great art is not recognized until far later in the artwork’s lifespan. But as you now know, that is okay. Artwork serves its purpose when its purpose is needed. Though most of your efforts fall on deaf ears, you never stop trying.

The day is almost through and you had promised Emile you’d stop by for dinner. Though you talked to many people, you fear your efforts have been in vain.

When you return to the cottage, you can smell a delicious meal being cooked in the kitchen. You walk in and can see in your peripheral vision the paintings’ movement.

You sit with Emile in the kitchen when you both hear the front door open. You look at each other with puzzled looks, then you both walk over to the front of the home.

Staring at one of Emile’s paintings is a man. His hands are gripped behind his back and his eyes are scanning the walls, digesting the art silently.

“Excusez-moi? Would you like a tour, monsieur?” Emile offers.

The man turns to Emile, “Are you the artist?”

Emile nods.

“You are talented. More than you know. I am truly taken aback by your work. It makes me feel at home despite not knowing where home is, and yet I do not need to know. I do not need to understand the stories you’ve painted here. I feel them. Exquisite.”

“Merci, monsieur,” Emile answers.

“S’il vous plait,” the man outstretches his hand, “Claude Monet.”

Emile hesitantly grabs Monet’s hand and shakes it. “They accepted your work for the salon,” Emile said, “Congratulations.”

“Well,” Monet says with a smile, “Merci. You know, everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. And love is the magic that brings your work to life. This is work you should be proud of, with or without the Academie.”

“Merci, monsieur. Merci beaucoup. Thank you.” Emile bows his head generously.

“Well, I will be off.” Monet gives you both a heartwarming smile. “Perhaps we can have some tea some time and discuss our work together.”

Emile tells him, “I would love to, thank you.”

“Farewell,” Monet says.

No one had come to Emile’s museum because of your efforts.

No one except an artist who would one day be one of the most famous names in art history. However, that did not matter for Emile. What does matter is that he touched the heart of another artist, another person exploring life through art.

Some art is created and will never reach even the hands of a thousand people, maybe even a few hundred. Most art will not bring the artist riches, some in their whole life time.

Artists create art because they are compelled to by a force with many names.

Art in any medium will always touch the heart of at least one person and bring joy or insight to that person, and that person can very well be the artist themselves.

{A Nova Vida (From “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1”) – The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra – Music From The Twilight Saga}

The museum saw more visitors as the impressionist movement flourished. Emile has started to paint regularly again. Now, he paints landscapes around Paris.

Emile and Claude Monet have spent some time together, and Emile has begun to interact more with other artists.

His life without Noémie was spent alone in a home that reminded him of the emptiness. However, now with a newfound joy for his passion, his home has taken on a transformation. The home, though still the museum you first visited, now has a vibrant color to it like that of the garden around it.

It is as if the painting that was the dull cottage when you first saw it has now been restored for the world to admire once again.

That is the end of our tale for today. Thank you for joining me, but it’s now time for you to step back through the portal to WHUS Storrs. I hope you join me next week for another adventure. Until then, fairfarren, traveler.


Fairfarren, Friends

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