Minus the dock… still not quite Monet. The fall colors are just about gone, and yet they still shimmer through the early morning mist.
Apparently, Monet’s eyesight was very bad in his later years. So much time outside in the sun had stressed them, and by his late seventies he was suffering from cataracts and had very limited vision. This is when he was doing what is considered some of his most exceptional work: the water lilies. The huge paintings that move from one into the next, water reflecting sky. He was struggling to see as he painted those giant pieces.
During those later years, his impressionist friends passed away one by one. Each death was sad for Monet. But Renoir’s was particularly poignant.
Renoir had been unwell for a time: wheelchair bound and then bouts of pneumonia. However, he maintained a wonderful attitude by continuing to create art. The myth that is told about his death was that he asked for paper and pencil and drew a flower. His final words were: “I’m just beginning to understand it.”
How’s that for an artist’s last words? A life of painting and drawing. At the end… the beginning. Doesn’t that astonish you?
And yet, I know I always feel like a beginner. If I’m familiar with a shape, if I draw it again as I “know” it, I realize, I don’t know it. I THOUGHT I did. But that was yesterday. And I don’t have cataracts. Not yet, anyway.
Vision. It can be limited. Or not. But it’s always an exploration. Always.