|John photographs me photographing one of Claude Monet's water lily paintings. The Monet exhibition on now at the Vancouver Art Gallery reminds me of my own visit to the artist's garden in France many years ago.|
|Along with Monet's paintings are a number of current photographs of his gardens at Giverny. Take away the Impressionism, and the gardens are beautiful, but far more down-to-earth than their artistic portrayals.|
|The water lilies as they appear in a photograph.|
|And as the artist saw them. Quite a difference!|
I fell in love with Claude Monet and all thing Impressionist back in the 1980s, when I was getting into gardening. Just as I was memorizing plant names and building my own garden, I learned about the wonderful landscape Monet had created for himself in Giverny, France, and used as a subject for much of his best work. It was a highlight of the travel I was doing at about that time to visit his garden and see with my own eyes his lily ponds, his wisteria-laden green Chinese bridge, his pink and green house.
In real life, nothing was as idealized as his paintings – the nitty-gritty of gardening involves wheelbarrows, hoses and past-it plants that just need cutting back. I thought about both the beauty and reality of gardening as John and I visited the Monet exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery on Thursday. My own garden has gone through its first flush of spring beauty, and now there are roses and peonies to deadhead, annuals to keep alive and delphiniums to stake. It’s good to remember that even the greatest of artists had to hop over hoses and see past the gaps in his own garden to make paintings of pure beauty.
|And, just for fun, my roses, now getting past their prime. I wonder how Monet would have painted them?|
|Or my delphiniums? He probably would have left out the stakes that prop them up.|