Monday, September 3, 2012

Lasting Impressionist

New York City. Swoon!

I just spent four days in the city that never sleeps doing what all thirty-something ladies do in Manhattan. Shop, sip and sightsee.

If you have never been to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), I would highly recommend it, specifically the fourth and fifth floors where you will find all of the most notable artists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Perhaps the names Picasso, van Gogh, Kandinsky, Chagall, Matisse, Severini, and Monet ring a bell?

When I arrived on the 5th floor, there was one gold-framed piece that was guarded, crowded, and photographed more than any other piece of art, Vincent van Gogh’s Starry Night. But that wasn’t what garnered my attention and sparked my mind. It was back in a corner, in a separate room, where I fell into the vast heaven of Monet.

There was a distinct air about this area of MoMA. You could sense the awe and wonder as people quietly stood or sat on the benches in front of the sprawling canvases, where two of his Water Lilies series filled two entire walls. You could hear the respect, as this was the quietest place in MoMA.

After I swirled out of the lavender and pale pink trance I was in, I wanted to know more. So I read about Mr. Claude Monet. And was stunned. These pieces took twelve years to create…come again?!

Astonished, I still wanted to know more.  So after my trip ended, and I arrived home via turbulence and oh so friendly TSA, I did what any person who wants to learn more about anything does…I Googled it.

For those of you, who are like me and maybe are not as well versed in notable artists like Monet, here is what you need to know:

• He was 74 when he started his Water Lilies series.
• His eyesight was failing during the twelve-year span that he painted these pieces leading him to be criticized for their blurriness.
• After he passed, the Water Lilies stayed in Giverny for twenty years until they were rediscovered by curators.

Oh Monet, you silly French hen! You epitomized three life lessons that if recognized before you die, can help you live.

Here are three life lessons I learned from Monet:
1. It’s never too late to begin.  At 74 years young, Monet began painting the pieces that he is now most recognized for. I hear people regularly at 34 or 44 or 54 saying “it’s too late." I scoff at them. If a man of 74 with failing eyesight can begin a new project, than why can’t you do anything? Go back to school, change careers, have a baby or travel more.  It’s only too late to begin if you allow it to be too late or if you are dead. Are you dead?
2. It takes time to create a masterpiece. Twelve years for Monet. What about you? Most quit too soon, because it is hard or isn’t producing the immediate gratification society has come to expect. Most won’t continually pursue something that takes months, years, or decades to perfect. Hello diet pills and steroids! The easy road doesn’t create a masterpiece, hard work and time creates masterpieces. What are you working on?
3. It takes time for others to recognize and appreciate your accomplishments. Just because you see the brilliance behind your masterpiece doesn’t mean others will. You may be considered “crazy”, “off”, “nuts”, or “different” (like Steve Jobs was). But with hard work, determination, and passion, your masterpiece will shine for others to admire and appreciate, eventually if not immediately. 

I understand now why Monet was considered the founder of French impressionist painting, because his artwork left a lasting impression on my eyes, heart, and working soul.

See an entire gallery of my favorite pieces from MoMA by going here: Lasting Impressionist Album

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  1. Very creative connecting your artistic experience and sales. You're right achievements can start at any age and excellence comes from long term committment. Great article!

  2. I've long known that Monet was my favorite. Now I have more reason to appreciate his work. Thank you.

  3. This is one of your best articles. Well done!

  4. If you loved the few in New York, get thee to Giverny!. Actually, go to Paris to the Orangery and see the two big rooms with the Waterlilies. I have been there twice, and the impact remains one of my most visceral artistic experiences. Utterly eye filling. thanks for the article!

  5. Thanks for reminding me that "it never to late to start" even over 50.

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