Friday, December 25, 2009

Monet on Christmas Day

Monet has been in my thoughts today. Primarily about light. Light from my window here in Astoria. Start with the light from the stars at 2 am. Then the moon descending across the sky until it sets and the stars became even brighter. The overall brightness of the sky increased with the sunrise and the glow of pink on the clouds. Then the sun reflected from the water and now the pink of the sunset. It's been almost the full cycle. During all of those changes I thought of Monet and his various series – the haystacks, the cathedrals, the waterlilies. I'm most grateful that the Portland Art Museum has one of Monet's Waterlilies.

And for me this particular painting is one of the best. Waterlilies has a level of abstraction that attracts me. And yet I know without looking at the title that the subject is waterlilies. How much better can that be? The color is vibrant. Some say that was because Monet's eyesight was deteriorating from cataracts and that intense hues would have appealed to him. Even without cataracts they appeal to me. Look at it closely and you can start to see fish swimming in the water. Those little circles are most definitely from fish. Ask any person who fishes and they'll tell you. Like all of the pieces of art featured here in the last year, to truly appreciate the wonders of this painting, you'll need to see it in person.

Since I'm not near the museum, on this Christmas Day my present to myself was watching the light reflected from the Columbia River here in Astoria, Oregon. Different light and different water than Monet's but light and water nonetheless.

Voice from the Couch: Nice choice of river photos. I like the verticals of the piers with the verticals from the Waterlilies.

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