ONE OF MY FAVORITE COURSES IN COLLEGE WAS MY YEARLONG STUDY OF ART HISTORY. I WAS FASCINATED BY THE SHEER TALENT OF THE SCULPTORS AND PAINTERS AND THE PAINSTAKING HOURS THEY WOULD HAVE SPENT CHISELING THEIR VISION OUT OF STONE OR PAINTING ON THEIR BACK, AS LEONARDO DA VINCI DID WHILE COMPLETING THE SISTINE CHAPEL.
Once we entered the era of Renaissance art, I was once again captivated by some of the greats and quickly transported to the era of Impressionism and fell in love with the works from Monet, Degas, Renoir and Cassatt. The artists of this time strived to capture the moment, almost like a snapshot, that provided a sensory image of that particular scene. These paintings focused on the streets and countryside, rather than the formal, detailed portraits from the previous era. They focused on using pure, intense colors and abandoned clarity in forms and used loose and sometimes broad brushwork in their paintings. Their work allowed one who viewed their painting the ability to truly feel like they were there in the moment and seeing it firsthand.
I had the privilege this summer of finally being able to visit the Musée d’Orsay in Paris and I was captivated for hours as I wandered the halls and took in the works by the masters. Yet, I was also brought to tears as I saw the excitement in my daughter’s eyes as she saw Edgar Degas’ ballerina series and his famous sculpture, “Little Dancer of Fourteen Years” for the first time. She was mesmerized by the art and fascinated by the pure grace and beauty of the pieces.
I realized then, that in a way we too are Impressionist painters of the modern day. We create small snapshots or vignettes of spaces that hopefully capture a moment in time for people to experience. While I am sure my work will never be showcased in a museum, I do hope that it inspires someone, somewhere just like Degas did this summer for Bella and my art history courses did for me long ago. To quote Claude Monet, “For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since it’s appearance changed at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air, which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value”.
This summer my family has created cherished memories that are now held like snapshots in our mind. I hope you too can pause to create and capture your own special moments, to inspire your world.
Wishing you much love this month.