Impressionism at its glorious best..
Impressionism, a style of painting that originated in France in the 1870s, is characterized by small brush strokes aimed at reproducing reflected light and, more important, the artist's visual "impression" of an immediate scene (usually outdoors). Monet is considered one of the founders of the style.
But at Giverny, Monet's work increasingly begins to reflect his memory and emotions, rather than an impression of a transitory scene. Monet's painting style also became more "physical": The minute brushstrokes of his earlier work give way to broader brushstrokes. If the 1870s were about wrist movements ..., the 1920s were about body gestures.
Every morning, a gardener would boat around the pond next to Claude Monet's house in Giverny, meticulously cleaning water lilies that had collected soot from passing trains. The master insisted that, when he got out in his boat in the morning, the water lilies would be pristine. Monet moved to Giverny, a village along the Seine about 46 miles to the west of Paris, in 1883. Here, he designed a pond, redesigned much of the garden and, most famously, created those paintings of water lilies, flower beds and the Japanese footbridge.
However, many of these later works do not fit the classic definition of Impressionism. Monet's technique underwent an enormous change while at Giverny.
Monet's later paintings of the weeping willow, the wisteria and the Japanese footbridge, among other denizens of his garden, should not be considered geographical landmarks. Rather, they reflect the complex of sensations and memories left over - what we take away --when we visit the garden. Many of these later paintings verge on the abstract, with colors bleeding into each other and a lack of rational shape and perspective. For example, "The House Seen from the Rose Garden, 1922-1924," is an explosion of orange, yellow and red hues, but leaves the reader barely able to discern the vague shape of the house in the background.Monet's diminished sight opened up a new vista for his art, one in which memory and the unseen play a more important role than the perceptions of direct experience.
In a certain sense, we must learn to see these last pictures of his garden at Giverny not as increasingly confused by his inability to see clearly, but as pictures in which Monet's memory traces of the site he had planted and tended and lived with so long - the paths, the plants and the waterways of his garden - came to replace the ever more fragile images of his failing eye.
Report by John Sanford, lecture by Michael Marrinan.
Much has happened over the last couple of months. Kim and I have launched our own particular Gardening oriented website featuring so much of what we know and love about the Australian Garden. The most recent NFP Newsletter let you all know of www.ouraustraliangardens.com and the outcomes since have been simply satisfying and rewarding. Just prior to Christmas we held a little gathering at Oxley celebrating the launch of our very first DVD production featuring one of Australia's most remarkable gardens. Eamonn does exceptionally well as presenter. All of the details regarding this DVD and a timings update on the eagerly awaited release of our second and third can be found on the site.www.ouraustraliangardens.com.
The Jacaranda is the biggest “show off”. Bright purple flowers delight not just the poets and painters! Fall in love with the Jacaranda when they are in full flower by all means, but I love the colour of the trees now. With the dry weather this year the yellow leaves highlight otherwise drab areas. The fine leaves cling on till just before the flowers. Although the tree may be deciduous it is only for a brief time. A true test of a great tree is not just how it looks in flower but also is it worthwhile in the garden for the other eleven months.
Tree species can go through phases in popularity. What may be right for one State may be a disaster in another. The Chinese Elm, Celtis sinensis is not a problem in dry areas but here in Queensland it is a pest. The Camphor Laurel were popular once until they escaped, not just into neighbouring gardens but into whole districts. Both these trees may never be sold here as everyone knows they are a problem The Jacaranda does not have the same reputation but beware, it can be a giant in its mature state; far too large for most suburban gardens. It is very sad to see trees butchered by necessary pruning to prevent branches damaging houses. It is also costly to remove a tree planted in the wrong spot when a tall shrub may have been more appropriate.
The seeds of the Jacaranda are easily propagated and you may find it coming up in the garden occasionally. It is still easy to buy in large landscaping sizes. Ultimate size is only one of the considerations. Leaf and flower drop are other factors especially with the Jacaranda. Fine leaves near pools or soggy flowers over paths or driveways are a nuisance.
Promise yourself a walk in the Park when the Jacarandas are blooming but stop for a moment now and see their special Spring colour too.