Sunday, February 12, 2012

Monet's Giverny

Look closely ... that's me at the house end of The Grand Alley

Claude Monet's home is a mecca for artists.  Because of the numbers who visit this amazing spectacle, a maximum of 15 painters per day are allowed to work at Giverny and only on Mondays when the home is closed to the public for grounds maintenance.

From home Bill tried, without success, to arrange for me to paint there.  My sincere gratitude goes to our Parisian friend, Marie Claire, who took the matter in her hands and secured my visit.  The price for the day was 15 Euros, but I'd have paid considerably more for the thrill and honour of painting there.

On Monet's doorstep, October 6th, 2003

I was wearing three cashmere sweaters under this rain jacket because it was a dripping, damp and freezing day but that made no difference to me.  My spirits soared to find I was the only one there for the first hour before a group of nine American artists arrived.  The year before I had scouted where I wanted to paint and went straight to it. Clearly on their first visit I was amused watching these artists dart around in fits of glee trying to figure out where to settle.  I have them to thank for both of these photos, for asking me to join them for lunch in the gardener's shop and for sharing their wine.  Marie Claire had packed me a scrumptious lunch but neither of us thought about wine.

GIVERNY; THE MORNING PAINTING   oil 12" x 16"   Collection of the artist

In an unsolicited critique of this painting one of the Americans said "You've got a really good start there."  I didn't have the heart to tell her that it was finished.

Right after lunch the other painters left to catch a train back to Paris leaving me with two half empty bottles of wine.  Imagine my delight at spending hours alone, painting and drinking the wine by Monet's famed lily pond?     

Sheer contented bliss

GIVERNY; THE AFTERNOON PAINTING   oil 12" x 16"   Collection of  Gary and Michelle Lock

It was well after I thought my time at Giverny should be up when a Japanese filming crew found me at the pond and asked me to leave; I was simply waiting for someone on staff to oust me.  My painting was finished and so I sat on the bench enchanted, savouring the solitude while waiting for my ride to return.

The evocative memory of this day will give me joy for the rest of my years!

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