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Monet's Brush, My Mouse
Monet with his brush
“My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece.” Claude Monet. He goes on to say that everything he had earned had gone into his gardens.
So, i keep fantasizing about Monet, and walking, or painting with him in his garden in Giverny, France. If i had a time machine, i wish to travel to the year 1883, when he, along with his wife and children, had acquired a house in a 2 acre land, and built a greenhouse and a spacious studio we are told was well lit with skylights. Monet took his garden seriously. So much so, it is said that he would "write daily instructions to his gardening staff, precise designs and layouts for plantings, and invoices for his floral purchases including his large collection of botany books. And that as he got wealthier, his garden evolved. Even with seven hired gardeners, he remained it's chief architect. Flowers were the main focus of Monet's artistic production during the last thirty years of his life. Many of the works were painted while he suffered from cataracts. Towards the end of his life, Monet's attention shifted from his flower garden to the pond and water lilies. Those who had seen it describes the place as a "joyous riot of color, abundant and flowing, a corner of nature just barely tamed, a paradise made to order by an Impressionist to please the eye and provide endless motifs to paint". The best view of the entire garden is from the bedroom of Monet's pink house with green shutters. In warm weather, the French windows are luxuriously thrown open, and visitors can survey from above all three acres of flowers and flowering trees.
With brush and oils, Monet gave the world some of the most marvelous paintings in the history of art. As a modern day photo-digital artist, I am amused by another thought. I imagine Monet living in our era of technology. What would he be like with a computer? History gives us a good study on the artists psyche, along with his contemporaries, called the 'Impressionists'. Described as revolutionaries, this group were not afraid to defy the norm of art form, as dictated by the establishment during their time. They went ahead and introduced paintings that were mocked, and disapproved of. If Monet were here with us today, he would definitely pick up the latest state of the art electronic tools, and will most likely be an avant garde geek art genuis. He would go nuts! He would do everything digital and far beyond. I think he will like the speed, and how so much more there is to colors! He did say, “Colour is my day-long obsession,joy and torment. Now, he will know what torment really means! ”He would love my mouse, like i do.
But digital art has a long way to go, and it is still very much grappled with. It will take some time before we find it financially rewarding. But, to an artist, art is art. As the father of French impressionism, Monet was the most prolific practitioner of the movement's philosophy, of expressing perceptions in nature, especially as applied to plein-air landscape painting. Water Lilies, or Nympheus is a series of approximately 250 oil paintings. On June 2008, another of Monet's water lily paintings, Le Bassin Aux Nymphea sold for almost £41 million at Christie's in London.
Which brings me back to my musing, if Monet were sitting where i am, with the tools that i have, Will he stay with his brush, or use a mouse? How will his lilies look like? What possible new art will he discover? Will he walk his garden less, and sit in the computer more? Perhaps not. Because like me, i still love going into the garden, and finding inspiration and joy in it.
From 1860 on, Monet abandoned dark colors and worked from a palette limited to pure light colors. In 1905, answering a question about his colors, he said : "As for the colors I use, what's so interesting about that ? I don't think one could paint better or more brightly with another palette. The most important thing is to know how to use the colors. Their choice is a matter of habit. In short, I use white lead, cadmium yellow, vermilion, madder, cobalt blue, chrome green. That's all.".
I am looking forward to visiting Giverny Gardens with my camera and to walk where Monet walked. I would like to experience for myself...stopping at intervals to meditate upon what Monet called "the mirror of water that changes its appearance every moment" with each passing cloud or breeze.