À la plage

James McNeill Whistler, Sea and Rain, 1865, University of Michigan Museum of Art, Bequest of Margaret Watson Parker, 1955/1.89

One of the things I love most is hearing visitors’ responses to works of art.  And it’s really fun when those responses take a creative shape, and you get to hear an original poem or an elaborate this-is-what-I-think-would-happen story that helps you see the artwork in a new way.

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of giving a tour to a group of students from Bowie High School’s French Club, and they came up with great creative responses to a work in our newly-opened Lens of Impressionism exhibition.  Below are two poems based on James McNeill Whistler’s Sea and Rain.  To make these poems, students wrote descriptive words on small Post-Its (shown below), and arranged them to create phrases.  They also humored me by translating the words into French!

Calmant sérène mer
Il pleut à la plage
Admirant fantastique a la coast

Calming serene sea
Lonely raining beach
Admiring amazing shore

Il fait du vent voir ciel
Calmant pur le plage
Tranquil calme une personne

Windy looking sky
Calming pure beach
Peaceful calm person


Thanks, Bowie students, for a great tour and thoughtful poetic responses.

Amy Copeland
Coordinator of Go van Gogh Outreach


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