Umbrella Trends

My Process

Most weeks, when I sit down to write my blog, I have know idea where the Spirit will take me. I have found it very helpful to have the framework of a series to latch onto and sometimes this will mean that I have a list of points I would like to make throughout the series, but in the end, I like to stay open to God’s voice and I most enjoy the unplanned little surprises I discover along the way.

Searching for the appropriate painting brought me to the doorstep of Renoir’s ambitious life-size painting called The Umbrellas. With no obvious spiritual connection, I kept searching for something else, but in the end, my heart had been captivated by this beautiful Parisian street scene and I had to stop and consider why…

Why am I so captivated by this painting? Does this somehow represent something in my life? Ultimately,  I decided my readers would enjoy learning about it and the reason for it’s larger than life presence would be revealed to me along the way.

The Umbrellas c. 1881-86, Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919) oil on canvas, 71 x 45.2 inches, National Gallery, London.

The Painting

I began searching for more information online about Renoir and I discovered that he had worked on this painting in two different periods of his life. He began The Umbrellas, when he was fully immersed in the Impressionist movement but did not finish the painting until a few years later when he was finding his own voice, and creating what would become his own unique style. Because of this, the painting is a mixture of loose brush strokes and more clearly defined details.

Look closely now at all the details:

  • On the right you will see an elegantly dressed woman looking down at her young daughter, the little girl holding a hoop. Notice how Renoir labors to show the details of this woman’s attire. From the velvet of her coat down to the little pearls on her gloves… Following the fabric of her skirt, framed by the hoop, upward and you will notice that she is almost eclipsing the lady behind who is struggling to open her umbrella.
  • Noticing the mastery of his composition, I can enjoy the canopy of blues and grays represented in the umbrellas that Renoir has perfectly placed to infuse this painting with a kind of rhythmic energy. We are being swept up by the crowd to move on down the street towards an unknown destination. Interesting to me that he chose to make all the umbrellas the same color and it does speak volumes to my heart about going with the flow…
  • However, on the left side of the painting, and this is where Renoir’s heart is I believe, you see a young girl dressed in more working class clothes who is walking in the opposite direction. She is looking at us as if to say “what next” and pushing forward to find her own way out of the rain. 
  • It is also interesting to observe how Renoir has the figures cut off from full view like a photograph taken of a real life scene. You feel as though these images might walk right off the canvas into the room and you might step into another time. 

The Message

As I pondered why this painting was so attractive to me, I asked myself: Who am I most like in this painting? or Where would I put myself into this scene?

What I began to see here was a woman who is an individual going against the flow or the mindset of the crowd.  She is going about her daily routine completely unconcerned about the trend of the moment and I have to say I admire this kind of individual:)

I believe learning to live “Out of Control/In God’s Hands means cutting my ties more and more to the worries of this world–becoming less concerned with what is trending on social media and allowing myself time to follow my heart–live in the moment–to breathe–so that I might better able myself to hear God’s voice above the crowd directing my steps…

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ. ~ Ephesians 4: 14-15

More About this Painting

Just For Fun

Enjoy these pictures from my mother’s umbrella phase:)



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For the Music Lover

I love this guitar arrangement of one of my favorite songs “I Will Wait For You”

Thank you for reading and I hope you all have a great week!


19 Comments Add yours

  1. Love this! Not many people take the time to look deeper into a piece of art and let God speak to them. That’s so neat how God spoke to you through it ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. …. I co authored a book on which this is exactly what we did. It’s a devoting where the painting is intertwined with the Devotionals, and then an added page where you can color the image, and journal what God spoke to you. I call it prophetic art. If you’d like to know more about it let me know. Again many thanks for sharing 🙏🏻

    Liked by 1 person

  3. … Forgot to say also that I believe learning to live “Out of Control/In God’s hands” is the best place. I’m learning that too I’m this season . God bless you 🙏🏻


    1. We are kindred spirits! Thank you for sharing your work with me. I have also published two books that use a classic painting in each chapter to create a devotional. It is amazing to witness how people are becoming more and more interested in art and how it feeds your spiritual formation. Thanks for reading sweet sister and I will check out your work. God Bless your journey!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. That’s so neat Jennifer! I’d love to learn more about your books too. I agree, it’s really amazing how people are become more aware about art and the connection to God! Let’s stay in touch ❤️


  4. I forgot to share the link in case you’d like to peek 🙂


  5. debhumphreys says:

    This painting is beautiful! I loved the way you studied and considered what the painter was about then what it brought to your life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting Deb:) You are a source of encouragement for me and I really appreciate sharing the journey with you.


  6. Such beautiful choices, Jennifer!
    You wrote, ” She is going about her daily routine completely unconcerned about the trend of the moment and I have to say I admire this kind of individual:” I wholeheartedly concur! 😉 I am fascinated by the history of the painting – especially the commentary on changing fashions during the years Renoir worked on it. Your music choice, The ‘Umbrellas of Cherbourg’, is playing in the background now as I type – a perfect pairing. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so pleased you found this favorite of mine.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes! Thanks so much 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on At Sunnyside – Where Truth and Beauty Meet and commented:
    Jennifer at God Thru the Arts wrote of the young woman in Renoir’s painting, ” She is going about her daily routine completely unconcerned about the trend of the moment and I have to say I admire this kind of individual:”

    I wholeheartedly concur! 😉
    At Sunnyside


  8. I like her, too! First, the look of serenity on her face, and also the way that serenity is the main thing that makes her so beautiful.
    Since I have never been completely in step with the latest fashion (I guess I’m too lazy to try to keep up…) the thing that spoke to me was that she also doesn’t seem to be in a hurry. Her basket is empty, so she apparently still has some things to do, but she’s obviously not stressing out about it. I couId learn a few things from her. 😉


    1. Yes! To live listening to our own voice and not feeling distress or distraction from group think. Something we can all admire and aspire. Thanks for stopping by and commenting 🤗


  9. (Oops, it’s a hat box. It looked like an empty basket to me. Maybe God even uses my mistakes to tell me things. :/ )


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