[Watch the video] In 1883, French Impressionist Claude Monet, moved his family to the little hamlet of Giverny and began developing gardens of flowers and lily ponds, bridges and pathways, so many of the scenes that made their way into his iconic paintings. Little has changed of the house and Giverny since those early days. The gardens are restored and one can walk in the environment that inspired Monet into his old age and still inspires artists like myself today in 2012…
“Willow Wall” (See Video Below), my large oil on canvas painting featured in my current exhibit “The Landscape Illuminated”, shows a curtain of weeping willow branches hanging down, backlit, toward the water of the lily pond at Giverny. The painting, inspired by what I saw for myself in the gardens (see photo at right), was painted rapidly in my studio over a two-day period, creating a fresh
“Willow Wall” Video showing details and close-ups of brushwork. You can also watch on YouTube
and dynamic look to the brushwork. Under the protection of the gently swaying branches a row boat with oars has been beached upon the pond embankment. A simple subject full of complexity and color.
The row boat tells a story, in a way, of someone landing the boat and stepping out onto shore. He turns to hold the hand of his sweetheart as she steps ashore, lifting her white skirts so as to avoid getting them wet. She folds up her parasol. Their eyes meet and turn away shyly.
Or perhaps, the boat tells another story, one that invites the viewer. One steps into the boat, picks up the red oar and pushes the boat away from the bank with it. The boat glides smoothly into the pond, pushing aside lily pads. One sits, takes a breath, looks up at the blue sky and white clouds, then lookes over at the distant arched green bridge. The oars push the water and life seems like a peaceful dream as the bridge comes closer and closer.
This is probably the point of the gardens, making life a peaceful dream in the midst of the chaos of wars and financial collapses, death and daily struggles. Monet had the means to create a little world, an ideal world, one of morning coffee in a brightly enameled kitchen, big canvases in the gardens, and children and grandchildren dashing about. Out of this lovely place Monet drew the essence of the good life, pulled out the sweeter moments of the day to day, and mixed it all up on his palette and put it down for us to ever appreciate.
My oil painting “Willow Wall”, like Monet’s own tries for the eternal, reaches out for a moment of sublime beauty like that, a moment when time hangs still, and the breath pauses just between the in and the out, a moment when we hear a trickle of water as a fish surfaces, or the buzz of a passing bee and a soft wind fluffs the hanging willow branches that cast gentle shadows on the stillness of the boat with the red oars.
Find your own story in the shade of the “Willow Wall”, a painting from my exhibit called “The Landscape Illuminated”.