Laura Heybrook Garden Design Oxford

Here I am looking small and insignificant in front of one of Monet’s enormous canvases in their gallery in Paris.  The two close up photographs show his magician’s skill in painting at this scale and his complete mastery of colours.  And these were painted in great old age, not with him looking at the scene, but in a shed in the garden, so all from memory!

One could spend a whole life looking and becoming ever more thrilled and astonished at the breath taking genius and beauty.  I didn’t want to leave.

It all looks effortless and natural, both from a distance and close up.  Perhaps the way to enjoy the pictures most is to laugh and feel his joy of the scene which so inspired him.  His garden was such a vital treasure, and so very much in his later years.

What a story it is that failing eyesight so discouraging him from painting, it was his friend Clemenceau who persuaded him to keep going.  Monet said that he could barely see the colours.  Clemenceau told Monet that he would break off their friendship if he stopped painting.  Without this vital encouragement, we wouldn’t have these fabulous pictures.  Walking into the gallery and seeing them, they literally stop you in your tracks and take your breath away.  A coup de coeur! 

Giverny is still there!  The pictures and the garden are a treasure of France.  These series of huge canvases were given to the nation by Monet the day after the Armistice, in November 1918, as a memorial to all those who had died in the war. 

On the day of Monet’s funeral in 1926, a black cloth was put over his coffin.  Clemenceau arriving late and seeing it, pulled it off in anger, ran to the kitchen in Giverny and took down a yellow curtain, and said “No black for Monet!  Black is not a colour!”

Let’s have a life with more colour!  Bright vibrant colours light up our lives!  Let’s plant our gardens to be a riot of outrageous colour, to bring us laughter and joy always! 

31 December 2022

Laura Heybrook Garden Design Oxford
Laura Heybrook Garden Design Oxford