I’m sure it’s going to break my back one of these days, carting these heavy pots around. Monsieur keeps asking for plants to be brought up to the studio. I’m taking the azalea back out, to give it a bit of fresh air. I noticed that he’d finished with it when I went to clean up there this morning, and had a peek at the easel.
It’s amazing how many colours he incorporates even into the white blooms. Despite using what always look to me like heavy brushstrokes, he seems to get in those delicate filaments with touches of yellow on the end. On this specimen there is a tinge of pink on the creamy petals, all set against the flashes of green; exquisite really. I hear that some of the old school artists from the Académie used to think his work too sketchy, but now it has quite a following – “Impressionniste,” they call it. I like it, but what do I know? I’m just a servant.
Not that the master can see much these days, which is a shame considering the way he’s transformed the gardens since I came to keep house for the family. Until recently he was able to sit out there with his sketchbook or brushes and oils. Waterlilies were the last project, hundreds of canvases cluttering up the place. Now he says he can work better in the studio, then he can examine the plants at close quarters.
His hearing must be ok, though. Just last week I helped him outside; early morning it must have been because there were dewdrops still glistening on the flowers. He had to stop and rest on the Japanese bridge and a little bird landed on one of the red azalea bushes beside the lake. “Can you hear that wren singing away?” he said. He is still finding beauty in Giverny, even though he can’t see it so well.
I’ll just put this pot by the door, though I suppose the blooms and their lovely perfume will be fading soon. Hopefully in Monsieur Claude’s painting they will live on.
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Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
2 years ago

Lovely story, Susan! And, yes, they do live on 🙂 A beautiful reminder.

Sandra James
Sandra James(@sandra-james)
Reply to  Susan Dawson
2 years ago

Yes, they were wonderful, weren’t they? I love giving and receiving feedback on this site and have my fingers crossed that we might see some more flower and haiku prompts in the future. I really enjoy your stories connecting real history with the prompts 🙂

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Voice-Team
Voice-Team(@voice-team)
Admin
Reply to  Susan Dawson
2 years ago

Susan and Sandra, you will be happy to hear that a new flower/haiku prompt is coming soon, right after our annual Halloween “Scary” contest. There will be many more next year as well! We all love the ZenGarden energy.

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musing mind
musing mind(@musing-mind)
2 years ago

Beautiful story. Flower paintings will live forever. Making flowers alive with the brush stroke is incredible.

Fuji
Fuji(@fuji)
2 years ago

I’ve read so much about Monet and have studied his paintings for years, but I never “knew” him as an old man with failing eyesight. As I’ve said about your other stories, your unique point of view really brings these historic characters to life. I chuckled at the thought of all those Waterlily paintings – “hundreds of canvases cluttering up the place.” Cleaning up behind any of those artists must have been quite a chore! Thanks, Susan, as always, for your talent and your extensive research.

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Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
2 years ago

What a beautifully descriptive piece of writing. I feel like I could reach out and touch each delicate petal. Lovely.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
1 year ago

Hi Susan, your story brings me there in the garden and on Monsiuer Claude’s studio in a few steps, and makes me amazed of all the beautiful and lively paintings I saw in my imagination. I can imagine how beautiful it was and how lovely to smell the perfume of the flowers.

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