Sunday, April 26, 2015

in 'plein-air'...

"in the open air"

Water Lilies, 1916
As the chill subsides in Chicago and I step out into our backyard with a cup of coffee, it's great to feel the freshness in the air and the stillness in the morning.  Our trees are beginning to bloom, the grass is becoming a little more green and the birds are chirping, happily.  I began to think about painting in such a setting, something that does not entirely excite me, but nonetheless appreciating this little haven of nature.

La Grenouillére 1869
I think it is the stillness that caught my attention and being in the idea of being in the 'stillness' as a painter.  My mind trailed to numerous artists and ended at Claude Monet.  To be very honest, I am not the biggest fan but my appreciation has grown with writing this post because like Vincent van Gogh, it is his paintings of his "Golden Years" that we recognize and "love".  

View at Rouelles Le Havre, 1858
But, Monet was painting long before water lilies and haystacks.  
About 30 years before.  

Throughout his painting career, the one constant is the 'stillness' he captures, even when there is movement (ie. ripples in water, life of people).  More so, capturing this moment in "plein-air".  

As an elementary art teacher, writing this, I took a moment to reflect on how often my students sit in the silence of nature, not to paint it, but more so to just look around and be in it.  I ask the same of myself.
As an artist, I find sanctuary in the seclusion of the room in our house that I call my studio.

Still from rare film footage

Although Monet had a studio, it was in
 "plein-air" that he found his 'stillness'.  

I have to admit, I 'love' his paintings of his later years, where his 'stillness' started moving.
Weeping Willow, 1918-1919

Maybe this metamorphosis was due to Monet's own experimentation, 
maybe because he was nearly blind, 
or maybe because 
it was time for something new...

or maybe he wanted us to walk among the roses in a different way...

xoxo, SMocK you.

Here is a quick art project for the kids.

The Rose Walk, Giverny, 1920–22