Lois Reynolds Mead

Art and a pink monkeyflower in a native plant garden…


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Monet, young…

Thursday we visited the Palace of the Legion of Honor to see their “Monet, The Early Years” show.


When we started from home it was a drizzle and it stayed that way all across the city.

When we got to the museum there was no parking except miles and miles down the road. Two positives from that were adding multiple steps to our Fitbits and we were so far down the road we got the best view of the Golden Gate Bridge, ever.


The museum was more crowded than I had ever seen, so my pictures were hard to get. I was dodging around stationary people listening to handsets. Later we found out that it was a free day for KQED members. Oh, and it was Spring Break so there were lots of kids around. A sampling of the art when he was young:

 

Fishing Boats, 1866


A Hut at Sainte-Adresse, 1867


The Seine at Bougival, 1869


The Porte d’Amont, Etretat, ca. 1868-69


Still life with Flowers and Fruit, 1869


Camille on the Beach, 1870. 


The Pont Neufch√Ętel in Paris, 1871


Argenteuil, 1872


Still Life with Melon, 1872


The Port at Argenteuil, 1872


Regatta at Argenteuil, 1872

The last one really shows him developing into Impressionism. The reflections on the water are delicious.

After wending our way through the legion of crowds, we drove over to Land’s End for lunch at the Cliff House. Didn’t get a table by the window, but that was ok, we got popovers…






Very happy that we made it home without a traffic jam and before a very big storm.


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The Sketchbook Project…

I was able to meet the deadline for submission of my sketchbook to the Sketchbook Project. My sketchbook turned out to be a photolog of the day we spent in Giverny last September. The accumulated sketchbooks travel around the United States and are displayed in pop-up galleries in various cities. Here are the cities for this year:

http://www.sketchbookproject.com/projects/sketchbookproject/tour/15

It will be in San Francisco, July 26-28. If you go I hope you will check out my book (literally, it functions as a library…you get a library card and everything.) But if you can’t go because you are not near one of the cities, I created a iMovie of my book.

If you click to the left of the word vimeo on the bottom it will play full screen.


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Monet Day, trois…

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The third lovely thing about Giverny is the museum that originally opened as the Musee d’Art Americain in Giverny in 1992. In Giverny at the turn of the nineteenth century there had been a sizeable American artists’ colony and the museum hoped to investigate the link between French and American art. In 2006 the original foundation withdrew and the museum became Musee des Impressionnismes Giverny connected to Musee d’Orsay. We saw an exhibit called From Delacroix to Signac Drawings from the Dyke Collection. It was a pleasure seeing well known artists’ drawings rather than their paintings. I am a sucker for a well-drawn line and there were many, many here. Also, an exhibit of photographs of Giverny by Bernard Plossu. The museum keeps one gallery room with a few lesser Monets along with works by his contemporaries. (All the important Monets are in Paris, but they don’t want Monet’s home town to be completely bereft of his paintings.)
No photographs inside, but a garden, of course. Small spaces surrounded by hedges. Like little rooms on a theme…colors and shapes were the themes. I would go back there to stroll and investigate more.

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Wish I could clear a space in my own garden to put rows of precisely calibrated lavender.

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I must mention here that the Snapseed App I like so much has had an update which eliminated the former way to make frames and substituted a whole new routine which, I might add, I am not sure I like. Maybe they will grow on me, but at this point I am negative.
When we were in the gallery room that had Monet and his friends I studied all the pictures and came to one that made me jump up and down. There was a painting by Guy Rose my all time favorite California Impressionist who had been one of Monet’s friends and had lived in Giverny for a while. He also lived in Pasadena where I grew up. I pulled out the catalogue I purchased when the Oakland Museum of California had an exhibit of his work in 1995. Re-reading some of it today I found that Rose and his wife had registered at Hotel Baudy and I just know in my mind that he painted in that lovely atelier that was in my pictures. Here are some pictures of items in the catalogue.

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November, ca. 1910
Monet’s water lily pond.
From the catalogue:
“What Guy learned from these personal conversations with Monet about Monet’s painting would have been formidable and invaluable in and of itself. While Rose was living at Giverny, Monet was at work on a series of paintings of his water lily pond. This series, so admired by Rose, demonstrated the abstract possibilities in painting reflected color. Capturing the shimmering distortions of colored light on water, Monet broadly suggested known objects, but more often he directly exploited expansive areas of agitated, brilliant hue. The fragmented reflections of trees, flowers, and air meshed in his water-lily series, becoming less and less descriptive of those things per se than a record of refined perceptions. As did so many other painters, Rose saw in Monet’s technique a method with which to interpret the sensations of being in nature in addition to merely describing nature.”—by Will South

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Late Afternoon Giverny, ca. 1910

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French Farm, n.d.

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Arroyo Seco (this is where the Rose Bowl sits in Pasadena)

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Palms

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Point Lobos, Carmel, ca 1919
Rose’s paintings represent so much of what typifies where I grew up.
Then, we had to leave this lovely place so we caught the bus back to Vernon and got on the train for our ride back to Paris (dare I say home…).

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A day with Monet…

Even though it was raining on Sunday the 9th of September, we decided to brave the trip from Paris to Giverny anyway. Totally thrilled with ourselves that we navigated the Saint Lazare railway station
(misplaced false confidence on our part because a week later in our attempt to take the train from Gare du Nord to Auvers-sur-Oise to see where Van Gogh painted we totally fouled up and missed the train we needed). This Sunday we were successful and the off-and-on rain gave the day a beautiful soft grey tinge, the flower petals in Monet’s garden dots of water, and maybe it cut down on the number of other tourists enjoying the space. I am now quite skilled with the iPhone touchRetouch App at removing bodies of tourists. It was virtually impossible to get pictures in the garden without people I didn’t know in them. I left a few with umbrellas for atmosphere, but I have to say I love the Retouch App!
Hopped the train to Vernon.

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We caught a bus right outside the station for the four-mile ride to Giverny.
From Sacre Bleu by Christopher Moore:
“Lucien walked through the back garden, rows upon rows of blooming flowers, built from the ground up on trellises and tripods, so that from the eye level to the lawn, there was nothing but color, roses and daisies and dahlias the size of dinner plates, all mixed wildly by color, if not species, so that there was no gradation, no pink next to a red, no lavender next to a violet, but contrast in size and color, blues over yellows, oranges nesting among purples, reds framed in greens. Lucien realized that from any window at the back of the house, one could look out upon nature’s palate exploding across rhe landscape. This was a garden designed by and for a painter, someone who loved color.”
We approached the house in grey drizzle and then the day exploded…

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From the porch…

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From the second floor bedroom (even a little flying friend seeking shelter)…

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From the pathways…

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The flowers…

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Yes, there will be a part 2 and part 3 of our day with Monet! Stay tuned…