Photo Friday Series. one photo one story. France

MONET'S GARDEN - Monet's Studio and My Mom

My mom was an artist, an unknown artist. Her flower series... I greedily reached for and kept when my parents moved from their home to downsize, fills the walls of my guest room. My own art room in my own home, this is what I think every time I walk in. Sometimes I light candles in my living room, play classical music and walk to the guest room and study each painting, imaging my mom lifting these brush strokes. These flowers that my brown thumb couldn't grow if I tried. 

When I was a little girl, my mom introduced us to the riveting board game of Masterpiece, where one traded paintings by famous artists instead of houses or land. It was always my favorite game. 

On my first trip to Paris, I entered the Musee D'Orsay and flooding inside of me bubbled every emotion.  I thought of the paintings of Masterpiece and how my mom would never see this incredible museum. I stared and stared at the little cards I once played now hanging on the walls. 

I cried the first time I walked the quiet hallways of the Musee D'Orsay in Paris. My breath was taken. 

I found myself a handful of years later facilitating and taking talented artist Christine Joy on her first trip to Europe where she painted the countryside of Italy and parts of France. On this trip, after going to the Louvre and Musee D' Orsay, we went to Monet's Garden. 

I had traded Monet's work when I was a child. I knew it well. His soft landscapes were always the chosen calendars for years, and my early marriage fake-art for our home, always was Monet inspired. 

Christine and I navigated the train to Giverny, took the shuttle bus to the garden and both stood there, in absolute awe. We pinched ourselves that we were there! We were at Monet's home! The six year old in me was ecstatic, but, yet again, adult me knew this was another beautiful place my mom will not see in person, she is too frail to travel this far.

The grounds were everything one might dream; landscape art, every flower imaginable and endless inspiration for artists for generations. In the moments I'm walking around the famous pond, taking photos of the delicate green bridge, and sitting and taking it all in and never wanting to leave, I'm thinking of her. 

One acute thing I've learned when traveling, it just always gets better. When I think it's impossible to have an experience that can top 'this', top a 'best day ever', a 'I can't believe I'm here', or this really happened(?!) moment, or even Monet's always does. 

We left the garden. I was sad to leave the pond. We walked through the most beautiful flowers and entered the home. What's in a home?   

Monet's studio is in his home, that's what in a home! Oh my goodness. This sunken sun room off of the main house, with iron windows filling both both sides of the room, a desk, and easels. Monet's easels. The studio topped the pond. The studio room was where he painted the pond. The pond that we all know and love with the lily pads, floating flowers, row boat and little green bridge. 

Lining the walls were paintings, 50 or so filled the space, surrounding you with the soothing colors of the flower gardens, boat paintings and the abstracts as his eyes gave, hovering gently around you like a warm blanket. 

I stood there, studying the paintings, imagining Claude Monet lifting up those brush strokes.

I stood there, thinking of my mom. Two great artists. 




This room is one of my favorite rooms I've ever entered in all of my travels.