A couple of years ago, my husband and I took a trip to Paris. He’s a musician and was just about to go on tour. When I heard Paris was part of the trip, I said, “This time, I’m going!” An airline had given him a voucher for a previous botched flight that I could use, plus all hotel expenses were paid for, which meant I could afford to do it, so off we went.
Since Monet’s home in Giverny is only a 45-minute train ride away, well, let’s just say that it took about two seconds for it to become part of the Top Five Things To Do While We’re in Paris list. (Other items were museum-related as well: visit the Musée D’Orsay, visit L’Orangerie, visit the Louvre, visit the Cité de la Musique, because it was only fair he get to visit a music museum if I was dragging him to see all the art. And, of course, the second tier of our list had to do with food, because you can’t go to Paris and not enjoy the food. If you’re a have-to-count-your-pennies artist like me, I highly recommend doing simple things like getting baguette sandwiches and crepes from street shops and sitting in places like the Jardin du Luxembourg to eat them. It’s heavenly. But that’s for another blog.)
Giverny is a quiet little village tucked away in the countryside by the Seine, and Monet’s home and gardens are nothing short of breathtaking. When I came upon the Water Garden, the first thing I thought was, “Now I see why he painted the way he did.” I had to walk the Japanese bridge and marvel at the wisteria branches that curled overhead. I got lost in wonder, and that continued throughout the rest of the day. Garden upon garden throughout the grounds, room after room in his home, I felt myself walking in Monet’s footsteps, and I was in awe. In his bedroom, I looked out the window upon the village and imagined myself waking to a day of painting the way he must have. I tried not to be too much of a wide-eyed, all-agog tourist, but the man has had a profound influence on me, and I couldn’t help it.
It will be a day I’ll always remember, and I’m still painting from my memory of how the gardens felt to me.
Since poppies are one of my favorite flowers (no surprise to those who know me), and spring is my favorite season, “Blazing Glory” came from that trip. The trick was to pay homage to Monet but not copy him or be derivative. Easier said than done! I decided to play some Django Reinhardt and Edith Piaf in the studio and paint on a really big canvas to loosen up and do it my way.
30 x 30 inches, oil on gallery wrap canvas