I, CLAUDE MONET
I was lucky to have time to catch a showing of I, Claude Monet at the Rialto Theater. It was felt deeply on many levels. We had been to France in September sat in the middle of Money's waterlily panels at the Musee de l-Orangerie and caught an unexpected show of Early Impressionism the same day. Then we stayed for ten days in Saint Remy and visited Arles which brought to life Van Gogh's work. My knowledge of art history is growing enough that I am familiar with the disdain the Impressionists felt as they left a more realistic representation behind in search of the emotion of their art...renderings of a landscape and peoples unposed and previously unrecognized as important.
I, Claude Monet was produced by pairing his art with readings of portions of letters written through his life. He and many of his fellow artists suffered from depression, as well as the ordinary highs and lows of being an artist. But what struck me was how his unending question to capture light drove him through life. It drove him through criticism, comparison, debt and success. It was his companion, his obsession. And still at the end he was left with the feeling that he had not quite lived up to his own idea of a successful artist. Perhaps that is the inner feeling of artists in general.
Seeing his work on a large screen was in many ways more amazing than seeing it in person. Enlarging his strokes of juxtaposed colors let us see the threads of color that weave an image into its background. It also lets us examine the same image in different atmospheres caused by time of day, weather and the moods of Monet himself. His paintings up close are an invitation to investigate the many appearances one garden, one arched rock, one cathedral can take on. Even though my work is more graphic, I am always looking for clues from his work and Van Gogh's work, and the movie let us see how strokes of the same color, differing only in warmth or contrast with the stroke next to them, let an image emerge from the background as they share the same light.
If you would like to read earlier installments of Painting The Sky, you can find them here.