No Words Required

I have been reminded by Chris of Kent that often no words are needed.

(Credit: cgibson4verse)

Or no words are enough. So much thinking is provoked/evoked by Chris’ sketch. What do you make of his message?

What thoughts does Chris’ sketch below bring to mind?
I see my Nana Newman determinedly crocheting another mat or cloth.

What is pushing its way forward in my mind is: A picture paints a thousand words. Reportedly first used by Frederick R. Barnard in Printer's Ink (December, 1921), while commenting that graphics can tell a story as effectively as a large amount of descriptive text. (

I began to remember paintings from my past where my reaction was wordless! I will start with The Laughing Cavalier by the Dutch painter Frans Hals. A print of this painting was hung by my sister on our bedroom wall when we were children. It didn't matter in which direction I traversed our bedroom floor he was watching me and kept me from giving cheek to my sister who is much older than me!!
(Credit: Wikipedia)

I must admit I'm one of those people who doesn't say much in a gallery or at an exhibition. I'm not inclined to want to analyse any works to their nth degree. I prefer to absorb the emotional impact the work is having on me. And there are some paintings that just leave you speechless because of something special. I felt this when on my first visit to London, in my late 20s, I went to the National Gallery, London and saw Leonardo da Vinci's sketch of The Virgin and Child with St Anne and St John the Baptist. The drawing, in charcoal and black and white chalk was done on eight sheets of paper glued together. Because of its large size and format the drawing is presumed to be a cartoon for a painting. No painting by Leonardo exists that is based directly on this cartoon. (Wikipedia)

The drawing depicts the Virgin Mary seated on the knees of her mother, St Anne, while holding the Child Jesus as Jesus' young cousin, St. John the Baptist, stands to the right. I believe it is still hanging in the National Gallery in London. It remains one of my favourite works of art.
(Credit: Wikipedia)

And a similar feeling came over me when I saw the Impressionists paintings for the first time in the Musée du Jeu de Paume, Paris, again many, many years ago. I was stunned by the vibrancy of the colour. I can’t remember which artists or which paintings impressed me the most. I just remember being overwhelmed by the colour. It was probably one of Paul Gauguin’s Tahiti paintings which rendered me speechless. How did he create those colours?

Standing in front of a Van Gogh is particularly breath taking-Wheat field with cypresses.
(Credit: Learnodo Newtonic)

And I was speechless while gazing at Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles. It is a remarkable creative work.

And no words can express the profound forlornness which envelopes you when you look at The Bush Burial by Australian artist Frederick McCubbin in about 1890. As a descendant of Australian pioneering families this scene is very close to my family narrative.
(Credit: Geelong Art Gallery)

The Hero Image today is War by J.M.W. Turner. (Image Credit:
This scene, a companion to Peace, hung alongside, shows Napoleon in exile on the island of St Helena. It was painted in the year his ashes were returned to France. The image neither demonises nor heroicises the figure, but suggests the futility of conflict. The isolated uniformed body appears incongruous in its surroundings, while the red palette recalls the trauma of battle. In verses attached to the canvas, Turner refers to the sunset as a sea of blood. (

If you feel moved to let me know the name of a painting that leaves you without words please email me.

Jane is still guiding me from Taiwan and so at her suggestion tomorrow you will meet an English artist who is an Augmented Reality Artist and also believes a picture paints a thousand words.

A Look, A Touch, A Smile, says it all.

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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