Summer ‘23

Hello and welcome to my first ever blog post! In this space I plan to share a mixture of my art news and other life things I’ve been getting up to. I hope that you will enjoy reading through and that some of it will be useful. 

This summer I was lucky enough to go on holiday with my family to France, to the Ile de France region, close to the boarder of Champagne. It is a beautiful area. As we were fairly close to Paris, we took advantage of going into the city for the day. My husband was keen to see the end of the Tour de France (which finished down the Champs-Élysées,) and I was very keen to see Monet’s Waterlilies at the Musee de L’Orangerie. I’m pleased to say that we successfully managed to do both! 

Standing in front of Monet’s huge canvas’s of work was truly inspiring. The vast expanses of colour and texture really are something quite extraordinary. 

Monet painted The Waterlilies between 1916 and 1926, he (eventually,) gave these paintings as a gift to the french state, symbolising peace at the end of WW1. There are 8 studies on canvas approximately 2 metres high by 4-5 metres wide! It was not clear what the work was originally destined for- although Monet apparently mentioned the hypotheses of a living room or a dining room- except that it would be private, possibly his own home. Later they were designed for the oval rooms of the Orangerie. He wrote:

“Nerves frayed by work, can come here to unravel and identify with the restful stillness of the water. This flowering aquarium, for those who spend time in its midst, can become a haven for peaceful meditation”

I can confirm that being in those rooms surrounded by his beautiful paintings, is certainly a serene and beguiling experience. Although I am sure that in his mind he never imagined the crowed scenes of today! However if you are lucky you can still find moments of calm and be transported to an other-wordly, dream like place. 

I bought this beautiful book in the gift shop (where I certainly could have spent quite a few euro’s!) It is a fascinating read about Monet and his life with pictures of all of his Waterlily paintings, his Water Landscapes and more.  

There is also lots of other lovely art on display at the museum. I enjoyed seeing some pieces by Cezanne, Renoir and Rousseau, I would definitely recommend visiting one day if you can!

As usual I took my sketchbook on holiday. Although sketching and painting on location has its challenges (like not having all your usual materials, the weather and the lack of a desk!) there is something about the challenge that I enjoy. I think not having everything ‘perfect’ and therefore just having to get on with it can be quite freeing. I love just trying to capture the atmosphere and movement of whatever I’m drawing. I think this quote by Cezanne sums it up well:

“One minute in the life of the world is going by, paint it as it is.” 

For this wildflowers piece I was truly indulging in the simple enjoyment of mark making and the physical process of painting and trying to capture some of the environment around me. 

I also made this watercolour sketch of the scene in the distance from where we were staying. It started to rain mid-way through, so I grabbed up all my things and had a half hour interlude on this one! 

I hope that wherever you are, you have a lovely summer and find moments of joy and hopefully some sunshine. 

Until next time, 

Thank you for reading and au revoir/goodbye! 

Using Format