Happy New Year! How would you like to start 2023 in a new, creative way?
Every Wednesday and Saturday, we will be posting an installment of our book, Through an Artist’s Eyes: Learning to Live Creatively offering you a pathway to art and the vision of the artist. Enabling you to develop your own inner creativity and apply it to the personal cycle of everyday living!
II. THE JOURNEY TO ART
Art Walks, Part 4 ( Continued from February 1, 2023)
Artistic Companion, Claude Monet (1840-1926)
Fast Facts: Landscape was the core of his art, capturing all times of the day, from sunrise to sunset, and every season. Born in Paris, in 1840, Claude Monet grew up along the sea—always his great love and inspiration. His father was a businessman who did not always support his son’s profession. Monet studied art in Paris where he met Renoir and Degas; together with others, they developed a vision of art eventually called Impressionism. At heart a rebel as well as a leader, he struggled during his youth and into his middle years for acceptance of a new way of portraying nature. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Monet attained fame and fortune. He established himself at Giverny, his main home, constructing the gardens and lily pond that would become one of the most popular subjects of his paintings. He married twice and was the father of two children and six stepchildren; he outlived his two wives and one of his sons while surviving two wars. Though operated on for cataracts in his early eighties, he still continued creating. When he died at 86, he was recognized as one of his country’s leading painters.
What is a Monet? A Monet painting is almost always a landscape, a concentration of light, color, and movement—a moment in time, often filled with the vibrations of the flashing sun, along a river, by the ocean, in a garden or fields, or within the woods. Sometimes the day and weather Monet depicts can be cloudy, rainy, or snow covered. The artist also produced several series of favorite themes—haystacks, poplar trees, cathedrals—transformed by the changing light of the daily environment.
The weatherman of art was a hiker as well, trekking through swamps, climbing ocean cliffs, or enduring winter drifts with his paints and canvases. Monet was also a traveler and adventurer, seeking subjects both in his own and foreign countries.
He was a master of portraits too, usually setting them in nature, particularly of his first wife Camille—posing high on a windy hill, or in an endless poppy field, or simply sewing in the backyard.
The Monet Gallery: Meadow with Poplars, About 1875, oil on canvas, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
It’s a perfect day for a walk! The sky is radiant blue, full of soft, billowing clouds, blown by a refreshing breeze, while far below wildflowers sway in a spacious meadow of sun-filled grass. Yet, the poplar trees still dominate this vision, towering above, free to reach any height. Only moments before, they offered green shade and protection to the lone figure who has now ventured out into the summer light. A man? A woman? Perhaps a child?
Or does it truly matter? For he or she represents all of us in our vital journey into the realm of nature and art. Meadow with Poplars was created by Monet at the peak of the Impressionist movement when he was living in suburban Argenteuil, just a short train ride from Paris. Located on the Seine and accessible to the nearby countryside, this French town inspired numerous paintings, from sparkling riverscapes to lush gardens to verdant fields.
COMING NEXT: GEORGIA O’KEEFFE
Copyright 2010: Joan Hart, Museum One, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced in any form or by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented including photocopying, recording and information storage and retrieval without permission from the publisher.