It’s the details…in this case, the color blue.

Another guest post from Michele Coppin! If you remember, Michele did the wonderful two-part series on the Yves St. Laurent exhibit currently at the Petit Palais in Paris.

Today she talks about “L’Heure Bleue”:

In Belgium, where I come from, the quiet nostalgic beauty of the lowlands is emphasized by huge cloudy skies (most of the country lies below sea level).

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The sky is so big, it reigns as a landscape which windmills share with Medieval statues on gabled roofs:

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And Art Nouveau steel tendrils reach for convoluted balconies….

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My favorite skies come at l’Heure Bleue the Blue Hour. This French expression refers to the period of twilight when there is neither full daylight nor complete darkness, and when everything is cloaked in blue light.

And the world melts into palettes of blue… soothing and tranquil.

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Heure bleue palette 1

Perhaps L’Heure Bleue inspired Belgian surrealist painter René Magritte. In his painting “Empire of Lights” the daytime sky does not fit the lighting situation of the night scene below. The overall effect is intimate and mysterious.


Or perhaps, he was inspired by the edgier hour Entre Chien et Loup”, another French expression describing the same time of day/night .

“Between Dog and Wolf” describes a certain part of the day when the light is dim and when you cannot distinguish a dog from a wolf (some say it describes nightfall long ago when farmers brought the dogs in and the wolves came out).

It also expresses that limit between the familiar and the comfortable versus the unknown and the dangerous – the domestic, the wild and a slightly darker color.

Which is what inspired my painting……only I replaced the dog and wolf by

jewelled insects and a cat.

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Do you know this unique time of day? Look for it tomorrow, or whenever you can find time to be quiet and still and you will not be disappointed.