I am not Monet so why do I want to paint waterlilies? He is a hard act to follow so why do I persist?
There is something irresistible about waterlilies. Of course I love painting water and any subject incorporating water appeals automatically. For me I love the way waterlilies float on water and seem to be part of it. Light, colour and form interplay, sometimes with ultra clarity, sometimes dissolving into a blur of broken surfaces. This dissolving was what Monet portrayed so well especially in his very late paintings, some of which are currently on show in the Turner, Monet, Twombly show at the Tate in Liverpool, which I am finally going to see at the weekend. I remember the magic of first seeing the all enveloping display at the Orangerie in Paris years ago. It is impossible not to be influenced by Monet’s depictions, even when painting in front of the reality. I know it is something I will have to come back to again and again.
Waterlilies are also a personification of summer, and the shimmering of sunlight on water and lily pads dazzles and enchants.
I have painted and photographed waterlilies in pools, ponds and lakes from the Lea Valley to the Stackpole Estate at Bosherston in Pembrokeshire, as well as in indoor settings such as the Waterlily House at Kew Gardens. Some are native species, mostly yellow or white, some more exotic, mauves, pinks and reds.
The leaves are also varied in size and colour, shape and pattern, crinkled and ribbed, wavy edges or upturned plates.
Sometimes the mystery and ephemeral quality of the waterlily in its natural setting is what endures in the memory.
- Rare Film: Claude Monet at Work in His Famous Garden at Giverny, 1915 (openculture.com)
- Turner Monet Twombly: Later Paintings (gerryco23.wordpress.com)