Tuesday, October 05, 2010

reverse impressionism

I read about a special exhibit in Paris. One that opened this week and will run through nearly the end of January. Paintings of Monet.

I’m one who loves Monet – evocation of earthy, light filled beauty is something that I admire so much on a canvas that it could be argued I am inclined to look for something comparable, above all else, when I am out and about with my camera hanging over my shoulder (that’s a constant: it’s always hanging over my shoulder).

If a canvas, say by Monet or Pissarro, or Sisley (to stay with the greats) is to convey a sense of life in harmony with the great outdoors, through brush strokes that give the essence rather than the detail of a given scene, leaving you to form that lovely impression of, say, a haystack in a winter sunset, or a romp through a field of poppies, then I think what happens as I bike in these glorious days of sunshine and of early fall color is that suddenly I see myself as if I were in a painting. Their painting. Is it that I want not to let go of the perfection of that given moment?

There are times when a photo will do. This afternoon, for instance, on the Union Terrace.


Even though it was quite warm for October, the terrace chairs were mostly empty, as if no one could quite believe our luck with the weather.


But there are moments when I think that a photo will not do. Later, on the lakeside bike path, for example. In my mind, a painting is so much more suitable to the grandness of the moment. Here, on the woody and dappled path, a photo is too blunt, too sharp and contoured. The trees, in their golden shimmer, play with your senses, creating images closer to those painted by the greats. Maybe you’ll agree?