Thursday, September 1, 2011


(Waterloo Bridge:  The Sun in a Fog, Claude Monet, 1903, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa)

When I think of the word "serenity,"  I often think of Claude Monet - the masterful creator of ethereal lights and other painterly wonders.

Monsieur Monet was an artistic genius.

It's that simple.

It has been said that his artistry evokes emotions within his viewers that they have seldom felt.

I don't know about "seldom."

But, oh, can he evoke emotion!

While recently gazing at his "Waterloo Bridge: the Sun in a Fog" I fell under his spell once again.

And I was happy to do so.

Actually, I needed to do so.

I've frequently toyed with the idea that Claude Monet was put on this earth to act as a human sedative.

For all of us anxious people who struggle in our grasp for serenity.

And I admit it..

I am one of those people.

So as I stood in the National Gallery of Canada a few weeks ago, I felt my blood pressure literally descend while I was soaking up everything that "Waterloo Bridge" has to offer.

My favorite color is blue.

I'll take it in any tone, shade, shape or form I can get it in.

Greens are good too.

Especially if they are thrown ever-so- lightly into the blues.

"Waterloo Bridge" is nothing if not a big calming splash of turquoisy blue.


I'm talking about instant serenity here!

As you look at this painting,  you can see a hazy horizontal slash of deep blue that represents Waterloo Bridge.

You can even notice a few misty archways under the bridge.

And let's not forget the two delicate sailboats floating on the river Thames.

At least I think they're sailboats.

It doesn't really matter.

Thoughtful artist that he is, Monet has placed those things in his painting for our viewing pleasure.

But really now, it's all about that lovely shade of turquoisy blue, isn't it?

Well, yes......except for that golden ball in the sky.

You can't miss that golden ball.

The golden ball is tinged with orange speckled strokes of color.

May I be so bold as to say that Monet doesn't want you to miss his golden ball.

It's what's giving balance, life and beauty to his interpretation of "Waterloo Bridge."

What about the golden strokes of color - also tinged with orange - that lie upon the Thames?

That ethereal golden ball casts a mighty reflection, doesn't it?

Just as it should.

One archway is nearly filled with that watery glow.

Artists know that the color orange is the direct complement to the color blue.

These colors bring life to each other because they are so very different.

Sparkle and life.

Who doesn't need some of that?

So here's what I think:  If that sparkle and life pops up in a gigantic mass of beautiful blue - well, then - I say bring it on!

Because it's the "sparkle" that brings joy to my life.

But it's those beautiful blues that settle serenity within me.

Maybe it's just me, but I can't live a sparkle filled life unless serenity appears on the scene first.

Serenity is the healer.

It sets the stage for everything else.

Especially the joy.

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