Lily Pads

July 23, 2013

lily-padsWater lily pads floating on Claude Monet’s pond at Giverny have a strange ability of changing their color. When they first pop they are purple, like the ones upside down on the pic. The sunlight turns them green. Claude Monet, who was a good observer of his garden, had noted these two colors. On some of his Nymphea paintings he made them green with a purple circle around.

Reflection at Giverny

November 29, 2010

giverny-reflection.jpg The beauty of late season at Giverny relies on the reflections on Monet’s pond.

The surrounding trees turn red, orange, yellow and dip their image into the water.

Their warm colors split in dots of changing shapes form a stunning contrast with the cold blue and perfectly defined leaves of the remaining water lilies.

 This picture was taken one month ago. Now the leaves have been blown away, and Fondation Claude Monet is closed until next 1st April.

Time for Water Lilies

August 1, 2010

giverny-nymphea.jpg Water lilies are summer flowers.

 They like a warm water and a lot of sunshine.

In Monet’s garden at Giverny, the Nympheas that grace the pond are at their peak.

 Their crowns of pale petals reflect in the changing colors of the surface, creating harmonies that inspire the many painters visiting the gardens.

Nympheas

February 22, 2010

monet-nympheas.jpg The Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco surprises French visitors by the words written on the pediment of the main entrance : Honneur et Patrie. Surprises continue with its beautiful collection of European art including five gorgeous Monets.

The biggest one faces visitors at the end of a perspective through several large rooms. It deserves this honor. This enormous canvas of Monet’s late period, painted during World War One, is certainly one of the most splendid masterpieces of the museum.

Monet focuses on two patches of water lilies floating on the pond in his garden at Giverny. Unlike many of the paintings in this series, this canvas is very bright. Vibrant reds and pinks pop out the flowers, contrasting with the soft greens of the lily pads and the pale blue of the reflected sky. Curiously enough, a cotton like cloud occupies the upper corner of the painting, when it should be reflected at the lower part of the canvas. It is one of Monet’s favorite game to mix all the landmarks to create confusion in the eyes of the viewer.

     

Through the Willow

January 21, 2010

willow-lily.jpg Walking around Monet’s pond in summertime gives a strange feeling of deja vu.

This place especially, where the long branches of three big weeping willows reach the surface of the pond, offering views on to the blooming water lilies, looks familiar.

Claude Monet loved this spot that he painted over and over again, and that is even featured on the huge Grandes Decorations at l’Orangerie.

The vertical lines mixed with the floating water lilies and the reflections on the surface of the pond challenged his command of perspective.

Modern Flower

July 16, 2008

water-lily.jpg

At Monet’s time, only white water lilies grew wild in France.

They were hardy flowers, able to stand cold and frost, whereas pink or yellow water lilies were of exotic origin and needed a warm greenhouse to spend the winter.

When Monet created his water garden at Giverny and imagined a pond with floating islands of colorful nympheas, these flowers where very modern.

By the end of the nineteen century a man called Bory Latour-Marliac had the idea of cross fertilizing hardy white water lilies with exotic ones. He was successful and obtained a full palette of hardy waterlilies. In 1889, the year of the Eiffel tower, Latour-Marliac exhibited his new creations at the Universal Exhibition in Paris, where Monet saw them. Four years before he had his pond dug he conceived the idea of it by seeing the beautiful water flowers.

Would Latour-Marliac not have created  his flowers, Monet would probably not have painted his Nympheas masterpieces.

Poetic Job

June 29, 2008

dock.jpg

In his water garden at Giverny, Claude Monet had a dock adornated by arches of climbing roses.

It is especially beautiful in late June when the roses are in blossom, adding their pink to the greens of the foliages.
At Monet’s time there was a boat anchored at the dock. It was used mainly by the gardener devoted to the water garden.

This gardener had a special job: every morning he had to wash the water lilies. The road nearby made them dusty, Monet who wanted to paint them, wanted them to be clean.

The gardener used to get up very early in the morning, before the master would come, and tour the pond in the boat to push the flowers under the surface with the row to clean them.

Water lily washer, isn’t it a poetic job?

Sky Lilies

June 10, 2008

sky-waterlilies.jpg

Water lilies have their own dreams: being as light as soap bubbles and  float in the air…

Monet was fascinated by the reflection of the sky and the clouds.

When the water is absolutely still the surface of his lake is a perfect mirror.

The Nympheas seem to hang in the blue sky.