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To emulate Claude Monet

September 3, 2015
Monet in 1899, photo by Nadar.

Monet in 1899, photo by Nadar.

It’s hard to be satisfied with one’s own writing. I was inspired when I was lucky enough to view Claude Monet’s painting “Water Lilies.” It is in a museum called, L’Orangerie in Paris.

Claude Monet wanted to give others the chance to experience a beautiful pond with water lilies. Trouble is, he was getting old, like into his 80s, I think. Doesn’t matter how old he was. He was nearly blind with cataracts, so his painting was reddish. After his cataracts were removed the paintings were more bluish. His canvases were, like, 8 feet high, by like, 6 feet wide. They were huge, and Monet used maybe 60 of these. I don’t remember. He worked 20 years on the huge painting. He had to paint standing on a ladder. He was getting frail.

He painted, then sometimes painted over the first try. In the end some of his canvases looked dense, mostly black and splotchy. Was it because he was losing eyesight? Because he was painting a dark scene?

Representative image from Monet's "Water Lilies."

Representative image from Monet’s “Water Lilies.”

Today “Water Lilies” is evidently treasured by many. We waited in a long line to get in to see it. The painting is in eight long sections, so that one enters an oval room, perhaps 50 feet long, 30 feet wide, (I’m guessing) with the painting stretching 8 feet tall, extending canvas after canvas across all sides. You exit the far end of the first oval room and you are in a similar room also completely enveloped by Monet’s painting. Both rooms are bare, except for simple wooden benches down the midline for viewing. The people are silent, or whisper.

One has the illusion of being in the midst of Monet’s pond, perhaps on a bridge, during various times of the day and night, in various seasons of the year.

I was inspired because Claude Monet kept working on his painting, even when he must have had doubts about his ability to complete it. Perhaps he worried about his eyesight. Importantly, he held his faith, and he created a great gift to humanity.

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