The weather has been a bit cooler the past few days so it's been easier to be outside painting and moving around. I'm working on a few larger pieces and they've given me real sense of freedom. One of them is an evening scene of the pond which I'm working on in the studio. I did an oil sketch beforehand and I'm usually committed to working en plein air, but the size of this canvas makes it really difficult to manage. The sun is an issue since my umbrella only shades a portion of the canvas; the wind can be a big problem too since a canvas is essentially like a large sail that can catch the wind.
I am working on a morning pond scene entirely en plein air because it's small enough that I can handle it. I'm really getting accustomed to these larger sizes and am planning more to come.
Some new flowers are being planted in the garden and they're really very colorful. I sketch a lot in the evening and it's great to just sit and appreciate the different shapes and colors. I can recognize many of the varieties, but some are new to me and I've been having fun studying them.
Currently on the easel:
It's been a month since I began my journey as Artist-in-Residence at Claude Monet's estate in Giverny, France. I feel like the time has gone by quickly, but I also feel like I've been here much longer than one month. I guess that's because I've been so busy and I've put a lot of effort into this past month. Painting nearly every day, getting up early and adjusting to life in a different country has really expanded my boundaries. It's made me feel very strong.
The ever-present thought in my mind and the feeling I have is complete gratitude. I'm so grateful that I can be here and do what I love every single day. I'm also aware of the fact that my family and friends back home are thinking about me. I am also thinking about them every day.
So far, I have painted a lot (both oils and watercolors) in addition to keeping a sketchbook and journal to document my experience. Artistically, I've had ups and downs, but I'm feeling very positive about my pieces. Painting en plein air in the gardens and around Giverny has really been an unbelievable experience. My other project is that I am writing an on-going memoir that I want to edit and have published once I'm back in the US.
I'm not sure how many people reading this are painters or doing anything artistic, but I want to also say something in regards to following passions. I know how difficult it can be to make sacrifices in pursuit of a dream. There's so much involved just to do something that sounds relatively simple. For me: I just want to keep painting and teaching; but it's an unorthodox career and I've had to work a lot harder because of that. It's simple, but never easy.
I just want to send a message of encouragement to anyone reading this who has a passion, a dream or something that they want to achieve. It could be something simple or something more complicated, but I encourage you to keep pursuing it. It's easy to get discouraged and to lose motivation, but remember to follow your own heart even if others tell you it won't work. It's good to listen to others (especially loved ones) but remember that not everyone knows what's best for you. I try as much as I can just to look at things with my own eyes and to think my own thoughts.
I'm sitting outside in the courtyard now and it's evening time so I better get ready for bed. Poppy (our local cat) is looking to get petted and I'm feeling really at peace here. I wonder what the next 2 months are going to bring as I continue on this journey. Thank you for following along with me.
"Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway."