Claude Monet ~ Alive & Well in Mississippi

Highlighted by savvy museum curators and hawked within an inch of their beautiful lives by mass-market retailers and online poster-and-frame shops, the French Impressionists remain popular painters.  Once derided and criticized, their landscapes, serial studies and portraits are as pleasing to the art establishment as they are accessible to people who just want a pretty picture on their wall. It’s easy to imagine Mssrs. Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Degas, Cézanne and Manet (late to the movement, but influential in its inception) sitting around a celestial hillside, watching the play of light on the  clouds and congratulating themselves on their remarkable staying power.

Less concerned with realistic form than with natural light, atmosphere and color, the Impressionists sought to paint the world as they perceived it rather than in accordance with conceptual guidelines.  In its brief online overview of the movement, the Metropolitan Museum of Art  notes that,Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise (Musée Marmottan Monet, Paris) exhibited in 1874, gave the Impressionist movement its name when the critic Louis Leroy accused it of being a sketch or “impression,” and not a finished painting.”

“It demonstrates the techniques many of the independent artists adopted: short, broken brushstrokes that barely convey forms, pure unblended colors, and an emphasis on the effects of light. Rather than neutral white, grays, and blacks, Impressionists often rendered shadows and highlights in color. The artists’ loose brushwork gives an effect of spontaneity and effortlessness that masks their often carefully constructed compositions.” 

Claude Monet ~ Impression, Sunrise

Traditional landscape artists tended to depict the individual phenomena of the natural world – leaves, blossoms, blades of grass – as carefully as an illustrator and with an eye to accuracy.  Monet, on the other hand, wanted to paint what he saw ~ not separate leaves or discrete blossoms, but splashes of constantly changing color and light.  According to William Seitz, art historian and author of the Monet volume for the Masters of Art series, “It is in this context that we must understand his desire to see the world through the eyes of a man born blind who had suddenly gained his sight: as a pattern of nameless color patches.” 

Reading his words, I can’t help but wonder if Seitz knew of Marius von Senden’s 1932 study called Space and Sight.  Quoted extensively in Annie Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, von Senden had collected stories of men and women blind since birth who regained their sight with newly available cataract surgery.  For most, it was a difficult transition, full of necessary learning.  As von Senden puts it, for the newly sighted, “Space ends with visual space…with color patches that happen to bound his view.” 

Beginning with Manet, the  idea of “color patches” was integral to the development of the impressionist vision, and it’s entirely possible that von Senden picked up the phrase from the painters themselves.  In any event, it‘s easy to imagine a painter like Monet roaming the countryside with his easel and palette, painting whatever he happened upon and in the process giving us a record of the world informed by these new techniques and a unique vision. 

In his award-winning book,  The Impressionist Garden, Derek Fell notes the Impressionists’ commitment to “capture and record the fleeting moment” through their brushstrokes.  Perhaps the development of photography and the new ability to take “snap shots” influenced their thinking.  The phrase “fleeting moment” recalls photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson’s famous commitment to his own “decisive moment”.  Whether Monet’s reflections on his art were known to Bresson I can’t say, but the lives of Monet (d.1926) and Bresson (b.1908) briefly overlapped, they experienced the same technological advances and no doubt shared some of the same artistic concerns.   

 

Monet’s Garden at Giverny

In 1883 Claude Monet moved to Giverny,  and began to develop his garden.  In the process, nothing escaped his attention.  As avid a gardener as painter, his legacy still lives in the water-lily ponds, wisteria-clad Japanese bridge and grand central allée strewn with nasturtiums.  Just as lovely is the collection of paths and beds in the walled Clos Normand, the large, traditional Normandy flower garden just outside the house. When Monet acquired the old farmhouse in 1890, he sacrified an old and tired orchard in order to plant new gardens and install the custom-designed metal hoops and pergolas that carried his  roses and clematis.  

Eventually, he turned his attention to the water garden.  He rerouted a river, selected hybrid water lilies for their color and designed his bridge all in a deliberate act of creation – he was an artist creating his own subject.  He left nothing to chance. Renoir may have built a glass-walled studio in his garden in order to paint his beloved olive trees, but Monet commissioned a studio boat, the better to paint his water lilies.

Claude Monet  ~ Le Bateau-atelier   1876

“Apart from painting and gardening, I’m not good at anything,” Monet once remarked.  Amusing self-deprecation aside, his talents in both areas resulted in the creation of the garden at Giverny. Composed as if it were a painting and over time the subject of much of his best work, it is considered by many painters and gardeners alike to be his greatest legacy – as beautiful, inspirational and pervasive in its later influence as it was for Monet himself.   

Until my recent trip to Mississippi, I hadn’t fully appreciated the significance of Monet’s double role in shaping our vision of the world. Fairly adept at recognizing his work as a painter, I’d never considered the possibility that his life as a gardener and nurturer of the very world that informed his work might someday affect my own perception of the landscape.

Imagine my surprise when I turned down a  muddy gravel road in the midst of the old Doro Plantation, halfway betweeen a clapboard house flying the Confederate flag and the fishing shacks moored along the levee, only to discover a landscape so purely impressionistic it was hard to believe it wasn’t already on canvas. Stopped in my tracks by what appeared to be rippling curtains of white wisteria hanging from the heavens, I decided to disregard the likelihood of snakes and the possibility of tetanus. Scrambling and tumbling my way across half-buried barbed wire and through piles of fallen brush into the old pecan orchard, I found my footing and looked up in astonishment.  

It wasn’t that the orchard reminded me of Monet, it was as though Monet already had been there, dappling the leaves with light, capturing the pristine translucence of new growth and then washing the world’s canvas with a sheen of new rain and unnameable colors.  I’d have been less astonished had I walked into Monet’s studio and discovered the canvases suddenly alive, or walked into his garden and surprised him painting a few new shrubs into place.

In Giverny, Monet constructed a garden for himself.  That day on the Doro Plantation, where accidents of nature and history had rerouted the Mississippi, reshaped the land and left a secret, unexpected collection of trees, flowers and grasses to shimmer in the springtime afternoon, the only thing missing was the artist himself, to record the miraculous beauty of that first impression.

Doro Plantation ~ The Pecan Orchard in Spring

 

 Doro Plantation ~ Wisteria Drifts

Doro Plantation ~ Hidden Lavender 

 

 Doro Plantation ~ Turning of the Season

Looking at the photographs today, I see them primarily as photographs, snapshots, lovely compositions in their own right and touching reminders of those unexpected bits of beauty found tucked away into the silence of a Mississippi afternoon. 

But now and then I see again the play of light, and feel the warming breeze, and catch my heart leaping up as the first impression comes back.  Breathless, I re-experience a truth as unexpected as the plantation orchard.  Once ~ just once, or at least once ~ I was granted the privilege to see the world as Claude Monet would have seen it -tumbled into  light, drenched with atmosphere, and patched with color so piercingly pure no response is possible except to be astonished by what Monet spent his lifetime revealing – that brushes, paint and canvas are sufficient to capture first impressions for a lifetime of enjoyment.

 

Doro Plantation – Daffodil Bridge

 

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17 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. A most fascinating post…

    burstmode,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I hope you enjoyed the read, and will come back.

    Linda

  2. This is indeed fascinating, as burstmode said. And particularly relevant to me right now. In six weeks or so, I’ll be headed to Paris for the first time, and plan on a daytrip to Giverny.

    I’ve always loved Monet’s work and have been fortunate to see a couple of fine museum exhibitions with more than the “permanent collection” pieces, and have always been moved and reverent about his paintings. But I didn’t know much about his life and while I knew he created his Giverny garden, never really made that leap. I will need to revisit this post again in the coming weeks, and think I’ll print it out for my Paris folder.

    Meanwhile, your Mississipi photos capture the essence of the light, form, and energy you experienced. They are lovely.

    jeanie,

    How wonderful your trip sounds! And I’m amazed that you’ll be going to Giverny – say hello for me!

    Monet was one of the first painters who caught my attention, although it wasn’t his water lilies or landscapes which appealed, but his “series” paintings – especially the haystacks, poplars and Rouen Cathedral. What I didn’t know until doing research for this piece is that he was a true horticulturalist, who put most of his money into his garden. It was a wise inventment.

    I’m so glad you found the post of interest – and thanks for the compliment on the photos. I’m learning, bit by bit. You really might want to follow that link to The Impressionist Garden. A good bit of the book is online, and I found it terrifically interesting.

    Linda

  3. Linda,

    You have created another fascinating piece of literary work. In just a few words you captured the essence of the Impressionism movement, and at the same time you created your own impressionistic painting. You melded the historical scene of Monet’s world with the atmospheric setting of faraway Mississippi:

    “It wasn’t that the orchard reminded me of Monet, it was as though Monet already had been there, dappling the leaves with light, capturing the pristine translucence of new growth and then washing the world’s canvas with a sheen of new rain and unnameable colors.”

    Your painting is created with words, just as powerful and full of light as were Monet’s paintings. You captured the unexpected moment with strokes of speckled light and color. Monet was in harmony with his time and his paintings, and you are in harmony with your surroundings and your literary painting. I will read and read again this essay and each time I will find a new nuance, another speck of light to add to your verbal painting.

    For me your unexpected experience in a long forgotten Mississippi field created not only a Monet painting but also recreated a Proustian Petite Madeleine moment of literary art.

    Proserpina,

    Because you are an artist, knowledgeable about the history of your discipline and skilled in its techniques, I was especially eager to share this with you. I’m glad I was able to do so before you take leave for your own travels, and I’m especially glad you enjoyed it.

    It pleased me to hear you acknowledge the successful melding of Monet and Mississippi. I wasn’t certain I could do it. The experience itself was very much like seeing a brilliant flash and then asking, “What was that?” I wanted people both to “see” the flash, and to know my answer to the question – a taller order than I realized when I began to write. But as Alain de Botton says in his book “The Art of Travel”, travel itself is the midwife to thought, and given time the thoughts will come.

    Which brings us back to Proust, of course. I just re-read that section of “Remembrance”, and found this wonderful, thrilling line: “I feel something start within me, something that leaves its resting-place and attempts to rise, something that has been embedded like an anchor at a great depth; I do not know yet what it is, but I can feel it mounting slowly; I can measure the resistance, I can hear the echo of great spaces traversed.”

    Exactly.

    Linda

  4. Being on vacation (at home), and feeling the tug back to this kind of connection to Nature and its beauty, I wonder that I don’t take or find time the rest of the year to connect at this level. I always find comfort in Nature (even at her stormiest), but I don’t always get as connected as your post describes. I’ve felt this with certain places, at certain times. I just can’t help feeling it’s always there, waiting, if I could peel away the skins over my eyes.

    Ruth,

    I had to put away Annie Dillard while I was writing this, because I was at risk of simply quoting her rather than speaking my own word. But your comment reminded me of her distinction between two ways of seeing. In “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” she says, “When I walk with a camera I walk from shot to shot, reading the light on a calibrated meter. When I walk without a camera, my own shutter opens, and the moment’s light prints on my own silver gut.”

    It’s a wonderful metaphor for life itself. Most of the time, we’re walking from “shot to shot” ~ from appointment to appointment, from chore to chore, from one necessity to another. We’re active, and in charge. I do believe that the receptivity implied by putting down the camera and the light meter and “just walking” allows life to imprint itself on us, sometimes in quite surprising ways.

    It may even be that sometimes we can have it both ways. I have been entranced for weeks by Henri Cartier-Bresson’s remark: “Just live, and life will give you photographs.” At least in the pecan orchard, that seems to have been so.

    Linda

  5. Both those quotes are very helpful, thank you.

    Dillard’s is true for me, both literally about photography, and metaphorically. Actually I’ve spent the last 15 years of my life practicing living in the moment.

    Ruth,

    When it comes to living in the moment, practice may not make perfect, but it surely is necessary. It’s interesting to watch my mom and I – she tends to drift toward the past with all of the regrets that can entail, while I tend to push toward the future, with all of its enticements. Both can leave the present a bit out of focus.

    I’ve always enjoyed the title of Flannery O’Connor’s collection of letters – “The Habit of Being”. She clearly understood the need for practice – not only to hone our skills, but also to shape our character.

    Linda

  6. Oh, my. To come upon this piece after having spent the better part of an afternoon last week gazing at Monet’s Water Lilies in MoMA, flower and reflection all “tumbled into light” and find its cousin in a Mississippi pecan orchard (“Daffodil Bridge”–inspired!); to read Annie Dillard on walking with and without the camera, and recall Edward Steichen’s invective against “indiscriminate snap-shottery” scrawled into the notebook at hand while passing through another exhibit, the Proust which has only recently been read–is to set loose the tumblers of the mind, and…

    Thank you for being an Impressionist yourself, and truly letting in the light.

    ds,

    How wonderful that you’ve had some time with the “real thing”, Monet-wise! It had to be wonderful – and isn’t it true that we can spend amazing amounts of time in front of great painting? I’m glad you liked “Daffodil Bridge”, too. I didn’t see it until I was messing about, cropping some photos – a beautiful little detail hidden within the larger photo.

    I love the Steichen phrase, and now I’m curious about its context. I’ve traveled with someone who was as indiscriminate as could be when it came to photo-taking, and I remember sorting through her hundreds of photos thinking, “How many pictures of a bridge abutment do you need?” Of course, any time someone attaches an artist’s name to the word “invective” I get interested – it means their passion is on display, and that’s usually worth exploring.

    I love the phrase “tumblers of the mind”. Isn’t that just it – whether it’s a book, a painting, a photo or a phrase, suddenly something clicks, the locks fall and the imagination is set free. It’s a wonderful experience.

    Linda

  7. When I was a young girl, our neighborhood was rather rural. There was a pond in front of a small clapboard house. It was down the street from our house, and I loved to see the water lilies floating there. It seemed magical. Now a brick rancher stands where it used be, but when I look at it, all I see is that pond and those water lilies.

    Loved your photos.

    Bella,

    I never saw a water lily until I was in my 30′s – I saw my first one at the Houston zoo. I thought they were magical, too. I’m so glad you can still see them floating in “your” pond.

    I’m glad you liked the photos. The pecan orchard in spring and the wisteria are my favorites. I had no idea what I’d captured with either one until I got home and uploaded them. It surprised me that I could capture the green of that afternoon with a camera, but it’s just right.

    Linda

  8. Exquisite! You’ve captured nature’s beauty like a modern day literary Monet. A post well worth the waiting– slow blogging does have its gratifying results. Your descriptions here have just exemplified the fusion of visual and literary beauty.

    BTW, I’m in Vancouver now, capturing the beauty of the land through the viewfinder as well.

    Arti,

    How wonderful for you – being in Vancouver. I still go back and look at those wonderful photos you took in the country – I’m anxious to see what else you bring home for us.

    Sometimes I wonder why I struggle so with some of these posts – and then, when they’re done and I go back and re-read them myself, I realize that if nothing else, I’m creating a wonderful record of life for myself. And if others, like you, enjoy and appreciate them as well… what more could anyone ask?

    Happy and safe travels to you!

    Linda

  9. Monet built a studio boat? oh. wow. I didn’t realize. A studio boat!!! geez.

    Of course I loved this whole thing. Your pictures rock! (do you love my mature approach to language this evening? honestly, I got nothing left right now but I find that one-syllable anglo words work ok.) The Pecan Orchard is esp. impressionistic – you got it!

    I’m going back to read more of Annie. I’ve been struggling with finding something I feel like reading…Annie might be it!

    We are all enjoying your vacay (see, I did it again with the “word” thing…)! thanks!

    oh,

    I didn’t know about the studio boat until recently. What’s especially interesting is to compare Monet’s painting, above, with Manet’s version of Monet at work on the boat with his wife Camille in the background. There are other paintings of the boat done by Monet, and someone has built a modern replica!

    I’m glad you like The Pecan Orchard – it’s the perfect example of my new favorite quotation by Bresson ~ “Just live, and life will give you photographs”. It is one I’m going to print out and frame – a far better souvenir than a coffee mug or tee shirt!

    Glad you’re still enjoying the trip – writing about it has reminded me of the words Durrell puts into the mouth of his protagonist Darby in The Alexandria Quartet ~ writing exists as a “reworking of reality to show its significant side”.

    Linda

  10. Well, I re-read the museum chicken scratches to see if I could reconstruct the context of that Steichen comment. The exhibit was a history of the photographic process from early silverprints through the digital era. Fascinating. I could have spent hours there, but the spouse is a different sort of museum going animal, which is how we did most of all five floors and still made it to dinner on time. Anyway, I think ES was quoted in a magazine (clip on display) regarding whatever the latest process was that made his art more accessible to the masses, or as you mentioned just that there was becoming too much of it.

    Also, picked up my copy of Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, very disturbed by the poor frog that was sucked to death by that nasty beetle, and deliberately left camera in car on walk. Result? Three things I would have killed to have taken a picture of, but that perhaps would then not remain so fresh in the mind. Oh, the gods of Irony, how they love us…

    Did any of that make sense?

    Morning, ds ~

    Actually, it all made perfect sense – including your comment about that poor frog. I recall how I felt the first time I read that story, and it wasn’t good. On the other hand, Dillard’s great at making the larger point: nature is what she is, and while we may prefer to turn our heads, there’s a lot to miss if we do. Of course, your new froggie friend probably makes you even more sensitive to the horror that that particular story. I had a squirrel as a pet for eight years, and I still can’t stand it when I see a poor squirrel in the street who’s lost its battle with a car.

    I laughed at your leaving-the-camera-behind comment. I’m still so klutzy with a camera that even having it with me doesn’t always do much good.
    By the time I think “Oh. I want a photo of that”, dig the camera from my bag, remember how to do this or that and then turn around to shoot – everything’s changed anyway. Life revelation #8469: “Oh. So that’s why so many people walk around with cameras dangling from their necks!”

    Linda

  11. My brother is a photographer, a successful one with 3 books published and work hanging in art museums. But I sometimes cringe when I’m with him, he constantly has the camera neck dangling, and though he always asks permission, people are no doubt startled when he moves in inches from their faces and keeps photographing long after you or I would be completely embarrassed.
    I guess the point is, if you want those decisive moments, inhibitions have no place.

    Jeannine,

    And I do have inhibitions ~ no doubt about that. But I had my first experience of push-to-the-front-of-the-crowd-and-sit-cross-legged-on-the-ground-three-feet-away during the Juke Joint Festival, and have some wonderful photos to share in the relatively near future. I think context makes a difference – or at least it does for me. I was perfectly comfortable taking photos of people at the festival. Both the performers and participants expected it, and no one really paid any attention to the photographers.

    Actually, my new best friend when it comes to photography is technology. I’ve never before had a camera with a good zoom lens, and I’m discovering it can make a big difference. I could even take a picture of the butter-beak-bird now without it flying away!

    Linda

  12. Linda: Wow! This one is filled with so much to think about and comment on.

    In 1987 my wife Kate and I took our honeymoon in France as part of a 16 day Art tour. Both of us being artists, this was truly special. Giverny was not part of the schedule, but we made the trip anyway. Standing in Monet’s bedroom looking out over his gardens in July ranks as one of the highlights of my life. Likewise, being in his studio and standing with Kate on the famous Japanese Bridge in his gardens was indescribable. Then to sit in oval galleries of the Musee De L’Orangerie drinking in Les Nympheas was overwhelming. That one man could celebrate and share such beauty and on such a scale is amazing.

    As a boy growing up in Owosso, Michigan I spent much time at the local library which had a couple of original impressionist paintings by a painter named Frederick Frieseke http://www.shiawasseearts.org/frieseke.html. His boyhood home was two blocks from mine. Later I would learn he had become an expatriate living in France and had a studio near Monet’s at Giverny. His works now sell for millions of dollars, and hang in such museums as the Detroit Institute of Arts. Somehow I think this had a lot to do with my becoming an artist. It also points out how small the world really is–the connections between people, time and places.

    No question the Impressionists have been hyped and over commercialized but their achievement was and is magnificent.

    Your comparison of the photographic “eye” with that of the impressionist painter’s brings up the point that cameras which permit aperture control allow the photographer to selectively focus for the foreground, middle or background, thereby permitting the photographer to emulate an impressionistic effect.

    Most people would not think of garden photography as making much demand on the photographer or of requiring a sense of the “decisive” moment but it does. The best garden photography is all about light, timing, position and selective focus. Derek Fell’s work is a fine example (I have his book “Renoir’s Garden”.)

    Finally I want to compliment you on your photography, both in this essay and that featuring your recent travels in Mississippi. It is excellent work.

    Mike,

    What wonderful memories of Giverny ~ thank you for sharing them. I’m tickled beyond belief by all of the connections this post has surfaced, and delighted that I’ve helped to refresh some memories. Now, it’s Jeanie’s turn! It will be fun to get reports of her trip this summer.

    I’ve never heard of Frederick Frieseke, but will be exploring his work now that you’ve pointed me in that direction.

    One of the things that pleases me very much about this piece is that it seems to have “rung true” with you, Proserpina, and others who have backgrounds in art and real knowledge of the disciplines and their history. Your affirmations help me to be more confident of my own understanding – I’m not only learning to write, I’m learning a good bit about other things, as well, and I love discovering those connections.

    I really appreciate your comments about garden photography. The afternoon I was in the orchard, it was clearing from about 18 hours of rain, and there was quite a breeze. The light was constantly changing because of the scudding clouds, and shadows were playing over everything – one part could be in brilliant sunlight and the rest in shadow, or all of it dappled. It wasn’t about to hold still for the camera any more than a restless three-year-old! I wanted so badly to capture it, and with “The Pecan Orchard” I came very, very close.

    Thank you so much for the compliment on the photography. I’m learning a lot.

    Linda

  13. I am not a fan of all impressionist works…of course that is no doubt true of anything I like, there are good and bad examples…but I love these selections from Monet. And the pictures are beautiful as well. They remind me of the very best of this time of year.

    The pre-Raphaelite artists are my very favorite of the ‘classical’ artists, but I am forever fascinated by how movements changed, etc. I am sure the same thing happens today, but because of the proliferation of art on the internet, etc. it seems that nearly every movement past and present is going on at the same time and it is not as easy to ascertain the changes as it might have been in less media saturated times. Just a thought.

    Carl,

    What an interesting observation – that everything is going on at once. It’s true that the flip side of “everything is available” is “everything is jumbled up”. Some of the museum sites do a good job, and if you know how to refine a search you can bring a bit of order to the chaos, but it’s still difficult, and made more difficult by the fact that commercial sites are mixed in with informational sites. Add in the need to judge the sites themselves for accuracy, comprehensiveness, etc., and it’s quite a chore.

    On the other hand, the internet makes it possible for folks with a little knowledge (like me!) to fill in gaps rather quickly. When I began blogging, I never expected to do as much research as I do, but it’s wonderful to have such resources available. Now, I’m heading off to check out the pre-Raphaelites. I have a hunch that one of my own personal favorites, Waterhouse, might be one of those – thanks to you, I’ll know in short order.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the Monet selections, and the photos. I’m especially taken with the studio boat, but I suppose that makes perfect sense!

    Linda

    EDIT: Waterhouse is listed as a pre-Raphaelite! I’ll enjoy learning more.

  14. Beautiful – I love the way you have captured nature at it’s finest. I do truly look at all of nature in a way that blocks out everything else. I’m not sure why I do – usually someone who looks and appreciates just the smallest things are people who have gone through some kind of devastation and that makes them slow down. I enjoy the green weeds growing along side of the road because they grow and add color. I HATE it when the city kills them and makes everything brown again.

    Check your WU blog because I don’t know how to post pictures here!

    Karen,

    I could be completely wrong here, but I suspect some of your appreciation comes from being raised in a home where creativity, the arts and the importance of perspective were assumed from the beginning. Not everyone has that gift in their background, and so it takes much more to overcome being told that beauty and creativity don’t matter.

    So much ugliness in the world is unnecessary. We’re told it’s “expedient” to mow meadows and ditches, that it’s good for “development” and “economic growth” to plaster the landscape with billboards, that we “need” to pollute the night sky with light as a sign of – well, I’m not sure what it’s supposed to indicate. All I know is that much development isn’t progress at all – it’s speculation meant to make money for someone, and degrade life for the rest of us. I’m getting grumpy about all this in my old age, but chaining myself to a tree doesn’t seem nearly as ridiculous as it would have twenty years ago.

    Loved the pics – you had trouble posting them here because you can’t. Different playground, different rules ;-) Have a wonderful rest of the holiday – and thanks so much for the visit!

    Linda

  15. Of course I enjoyed this one, especially since doro plantation was right up the highway (and levee) from where I grew up on lake whittington/bolivar. The river not only claimed prentiss, but also bolivar. yes, ole man river just keeps rolling along, and when he gets good and ready, he’ll claim another location

    I did not know about monet’s studio boat either. sounds like fun! I often put my art supplies in my little john boat with 15 hp motor. i enjoyed going way back ‘in the willows’ and sitting and observing just as much as I enjoyed fishing or drawing. absorbing usually trumped painting.

    thanks for pointing me to this post!

    z

    • Z,

      It just occurred to me – you grew up near Bolivar, and Bolivar’s the name of the penninsula where I found the dragonfly. Interesting. I’ve never done much exploration of the settlement over there. I wonder if there’s a connection?

      I loved Doro plantation – especially the family cemetery. I found a contemporary history of the place – a kind of journal. It’s buried in my bookmarks just now and I can’t find it. I need to get organized!
      One of these days I’ll get back there – but I need to do some research first, and begin plotting an itinerary, so I can really make use of my time.

      Absorbing is important to painting, I would think. I’ve been mentioning Jaron Lanier to some folks recently. My favorite quotation from him is, “If you listen first and write later, whatever you write will have had time to filter through your brain, and you’ll be in what you say.” I think that could be amended to ” If you look first and paint later…”

      Linda

      • you are right about the look first/paint later. i often enjoy holding the reins as more images incubate. when i finally ‘open the gate’ the paintings thunder out like thoroughbreds!!!

        i regret to admit that i have no idea how bolivar got its name. the tiny community where i grew up (bolivar) was once a saloon town on the river – ‘bolivar landing.’ my father said that his mother loved getting on the riverboat called the ‘kate adams’… his mother’s name was kate, i wonder if that played into her love?!!! bolivar was the first county seat of bolivar county… i’ll have to do some research myself!

        thanks!

        z


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