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.