Thursday, May 18, 2017

"Garden Variety"

6 x 6"
oil on panel

In need of a moment of Zen?  Spend some time in an art museum.  Put your phone on silent.  Step into another time.  That's what painting can be like.  A removal from the present.  Imagine painting a huge canvas with your garden surrounding you.  Nice thought.

Claude Monet was 74 years old when he began painting Irises in 1914.  He had gained financial and critical success in the late 1800's, he and his second wife and their combined family were living in Giverny where he frequently painted outdoors in the gardens he helped create.  In 1911, his wife Alice passed away, he had developed cataracts in one eye - yet he took on a large commission by the Orangerie des Tuileries museum in Paris to complete twelve waterlily paintings.  He wanted his pieces to serve as a 'haven of peaceful meditation' to soothe the 'overworked nerves' of the visitors.

Irises stands out as more painterly, with almost a stucco surface of thick, broad brushstrokes capturing the light and color Monet struggled to see clearly.  Stand in front of it and you can see his progressions and strokes as he works on layers upon layers.  

From the Art Institute of Chicago, where you can find many extraordinary works by Monet.

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