Early this summer, I went to the National Gallery of Arts with a couple of friends. We were in the French Impressionism section, visiting with each other and admiring the artwork--multi-tasking at its best! That's when I saw Claude Monet's "The Bridge at Argenteuil." I stopped talking. My friends also stopped to see what was happening. I knew I was being rude, but I couldn't tear myself away from the painting. They kindly left me alone for a few minutes. I was in awe, in heaven.
I have a poor reproduction of the painting at home. It absolutely has nothing of the glowing quality of the original. I fell in love with Monsieur Monet for the first time in my life. When he painted the scene by the river near the bridge en plein air, things may or may not have been exactly as what he portrayed in "The Bridge at Argenteuil"--the fluffy clouds floating by, the sail boat with a white triangular sail conveniently breaking up the horizon line, and especially the shimmering reflections in the water. Will I ever be able to paint like him someday?
Which brings us to "Monuments on Autumn Day." Gravelly Point along George Washington Parkway is located right next to the National Airport. A great view of the Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial is why several of my friends and I were there two years ago. What you can't tell from the painting, however, is that my nerves were totally shot during the paint-out thanks to the constant noise from the huge jumbo jets coming down to land at the airport! My stress level was, therefore, higher than usual, which might account for the general drabness of the painting in its original state. I am quite sure that Monet never had to deal with the jet noise!
The colors of the polluted Potomac river can only be described as dirty-looking. Peope fish there, but I sincerely hope they don't eat a large quantity of their catch. I figured that there is no reason why I should stick with the "real" colors. When I quit my teaching job to become a full-time artist, I assume I was issued the artistic license! Invoking Monet, I did my best to make "Monuments on Autumn Day" shimmer. Do you think I measure up to the master?