The Magic of Words

Hi Friends,

Do you ever go years or even decades without hearing a particular word, and then suddenly it seems to be everywhere? That happened to me this week with the word “ennui.”

Ennui is a word that I notice because it doesn’t sound the way that it’s spelled. It looks like it should be pronounced N-U-I, but it’s pronounced ON-WEE. It’s a noun we’ve adopted from the French language that means malaise, boredom or listlessness.

Here’s a painting I’ve been working on all week that has ennui. I built up the background using many layers of texture, glazes and sanding. Then I added the triangle, and it didn’t look right. I changed the color of the triangle, and it still doesn’t look good. It’s too ordinary. There’s nothing exciting or unexpected happening. I think it needs something drastic to shake it out of its terminal state of ennui.

Cassandra Tondro abstract painting

Maybe I should just title it “Ennui” and call it a day!

On a more positive note, the painting below is one I really like that came together easily. The background is a beautiful, rich rust with hints of teal and green peaking through. The masked lines were the perfect color the first time around, and they bring out the teals in the background.

Cassandra Tondro abstract painting

Seven,” 30 x 24 inches, repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas

Sometimes you have it, and sometimes you don’t!

Where does ennui show up in your life? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.



  1. Before I had scrolled down to see the second painting, I was thinking a speck or edge of lime green. Then you have a green in the second. Green. A symbol of growth, rejuvenation. Both are DEEP.

    1. Hi Aimee! You think some green? I don’t know. I might go over the top with a layer of mottled teal, and let the background beneath it be red. I’ll probably lose the triangle, but I can re-do it after. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and ideas!

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