Hello my beautiful friends!
Today, I had the pleasure of attending the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery here in London.
Now you might not know this, but.... Monet is one of my FAVOURITE artists! I adore his work.
The explosion of colours he uses - pastels, greens, pinks, purples, blues of all shades - to paint the countryside, the coast, his water lily pond, all painted from the late 19th century... simply, lights up my soul!
I first learned of his work in my favourite movie, Clueless, when Cher refers to Amber as a “full on Monet”. Anyone else remember this scene?!
Tai asks Cher “What’s a Monet?” And Cher answers: “It's like a painting, see? From far away, it's OK, but up close, it's a big old mess.”
When I saw his paintings in person for the first time in 2008 in my very own home town in Sydney, I finally understood the reference.
And I left in love. Especially with his famous water lily pond.
How could this man from the 19th century be painting the most gorgeous colours and romantic scenery I have ever seen?
Since then I’ve explored Monet’s works all over the world; France, Austria, Italy and the U.S.A. One of my favourite collections of impressionist works was in Paris at the Musée d’Orsay, and my favourite collection of Monet’s work would have to be when I stood in front of his wall sized, Les Nymphéas, in the The Musée de l’Orangerie also in Paris.
But the best moment? That would have to be when we went to check out Monet’s home in the beautiful French countryside of Giverny in 2016. As we danced around his famous waterlily pond, positioned under a gorgeous green arch, that was the moment when Llew proposed to me.
So, Monet…. holds an extra special place in my heart and his paintings of his beautiful waterlily pond are my most treasured.
Now I thought I’d seen about 100 Monet paintings so far, so you can imagine my surprise today to observe another 77, the vast majority of which I had never seen before.
I also assumed they wouldn’t be as gorgeous as the one’s I’d already seen. However, I was wrong and this collection was spectacular!!
The works in this exhibition spanned a collection painted from 1864 to 1908. 44 years! 44 years of devotion to his craft.
I was intrigued to learn that his first wife, Camille had passed away in 1878 and at that time he was in complete financial struggle, with 2 kids to look after himself. And yet he continued with his craft.
You could see the various iterations of his method, the daring, the boldness, the refinement, the finesse and then again the daring, the boldness, the refinement, the finesse. You could see the experimentation over those years. The variety of shades, of colours and yet within all of that variety, something that never changed was his unique overarching style and perspective.
I couldn’t believe I’d never seen most of these works! He must have painted hundreds! I’ve now read somewhere that there are supposed to be 2,500 Monet pieces that exist.
It wasn’t until Camille’s death that he actually began to move around Europe. And he was 68 years of age when he finally made it to Venice. The one place in the world that seems like it was created for someone with Monet’s eye and is still a favourite city for impressionists to this day.
Apparently, Monet had only wished he had come earlier. But what I think is most impressive (hehe!) is that at 68 years of age he was still painting.
I drank in his stunning paintings of the Houses of Parliament in London and Waterloo Bridge from 1899-1901. And then as I stood there looking at some of his works from 1882 of the cliffs in Varengeville and the coast in Bordighera and Antibes a thought dropped into my mind:
What if he had given up?
Monet was a person, just like all of us. From humble beginnings, a man who struggled throughout his lifetime and yet he continued with his work.
I know he would have doubted himself at times, probably many times. But something within him, kept him painting. He found the resolve to continue. And although he sometimes went for months without picking up a paintbrush, he spent most of his lifetime at his craft with his famous The Water Lily Pond painted in 1899.
It’s amazing how even more wonderful things become when you realise that the person, the genius behind these works, is… just like you. A wave of love and appreciation overcame me.
How lucky we are that he did this! And what if he had given up? What if he had allowed his fears to stop him painting? We might never have seen his beautiful water lily pond!
I might never have experienced that moment dancing around his home in Giverny when the love of my life asked me to be his wife.
I might never had been standing here overwhelmed with joy by the colours and scenery before me. Transported for a moment to various locations all around the world, one of which I am standing in right now.
What if he had allowed his marker of success to be the validation he received from others?
What if he had thought, there are plenty of talented artists, why should I bother?
I think we can all take something away with us today from Mr Claude Monet. About creativity, about purpose, about authenticity and about L I F E.
Although there are many talented artists, there is only one Monet - just as there is only one of you.
Keep going my beautiful friend. Your craft matters too. And the one place we need to get that validation is from within.
New to my work? Hi lovely, welcome! My name's Leticia and I'm a Life, Purpose & Creativity Coach helping people to show up for their purpose, message & vision. You can check out my podcast, the Create a Life that is Beautiful Podcast, my Youtube Channel, Create a Life that is Beautiful TV, blog posts and coaching offerings.
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