Nature’s Monet Art

The richness I achieve comes from nature, the source of my inspiration.”

Claude Monet

Today nature treated me to this inspirational scene . . . a blooming azalea and Japanese maple reflected a Claude Monet impressionist painting on the still waters.

Oscar-Claude Monet (1840 – 1926) was a French painter and founder of impressionist painting who painted nature as he perceived it. It has been said no painter in history ever used color more precisely than Claude Monet.

After an art exhibition in 1874, an insulting critic labeled Monet’s painting style “Impression” since it was more concerned with form and light than realism, and the term stuck.

At 65 Monet noticed his 20/20 eyesight was getting fuzzy . . . he was developing cataracts. By 1912 his vision had dropped to 20/50. Ignoring the problem, his eyesight continued to deteriorate. Over the next six years his vision declined from 20/50 to 20/100. By 1922 he was legally blind, his vision now at 20/200.

As Monet slowly and painfully began going blind, his painting began deteriorating along his sight. The fine, intricate brushstrokes of his realism paintings used before, now became coarse and thick. There was no more light touch and airiness. Worse, his cherished sense of color started to fade. Colors no longer popped like they once did. He struggled seeing “cool” blues and greens, attempting to compensate by using other colors – fiery reds and brilliant yellows.

Cataract surgery was not yet the routine operation it is today, and it carried considerable risk. After observing another artist go blind from a botched cataract operation, and much deliberation, Monet finally opted for the surgery.

Surprisingly, the operation seemingly changed how Monet’s vision now functioned, instituting a new intensity to his paintings. Already a master of color, it’s thought the cataract surgery may have altered Monet’s vision to be able see color in the realm of the ultraviolet, beyond the normal human spectrum.

Normally, ultraviolet light is invisible to humans. However, many animals can see UV light, especially insects. Butterflies use ultraviolet spots on their wings to distinguish males from females. Some flower species which appear plain to us, actually have a variety of ultraviolet stripes and patterns to attract bees for pollination. There exists a whole world of color in nature that’s completely invisible to us, but evidently, no longer to Monet.

It’s been said, “God never made a mistake.” His awesome mercy and grace gave “…beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning…” (Isaiah 61:3), taking a depressed artist’s cataracts to produce an entirely new genre of art for all to experience, an indisputable testimony that . . . “God never made a mistake.”    . . . and He never will!

Keep Looking Up . . . His Best is Yet to Come!