June 8, 2015

Just got back from the much-anticipated visit to Monet’s garden. We had two hours to paint there, which was special — and, overwhelming.

This property is hallowed ground for anyone who loves art and/or gardening. Strolling through Claude Monet’s cute little house made him more real as a person.

I knew he loved Japanese art and had tons of it. But now I was looking at it, hanging on his walls. In fact, there are paintings everywhere.

The house, with its sweet little bedrooms, feels tiny compared to the huge gift shop next door. Here I am, in Claude’s yellow dining room:


The star of this property is the garden, which was the selling point for this 10-day painting trip to France. “Lush” doesn’t begin to describe the view of nature on steroids. One of my fellow travelers called the garden “voluptuous,” which hits the mark. Monet’s garden is #gardenporn!

By special arrangement, art students and artists are allowed to come in after regular hours to paint from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. Of course, we ran straight to the famous water lilly pond:


The feast for the eyes was total sensory overload. I didn’t know where to start. There was so much to take in. At one point, I felt really emotional, like — wow, I’m really here. Wow. Wow.

For this first visit, all I could think was, this is Monet’s garden. His water lilly paintings are famous to the point of being cliche. How do I top that? And in two hours?

Of course, that line of thinking is not the point. The point is to get past the pressure to just enjoy the moment. After the initial panic, I was able to absorb how special this vacation is for me.

We go back again tomorrow evening. Maybe I’ll calm down by then and actually relax enough to paint. I can do it because I got to that zen state this morning, before the garden visit.

Instead of struggling to paint flowers and gardens, I went abstract. Color is its own language and I had a good chat with myself:


So after I upload this post and my daughter helps me post the photos, I’m cooked. Time for bed. Tomorrow’s our last full day in Giverny. That’s gonna be special.

P.S. — You can find more daily photos from the trip on my Twitter and Facebook page (@BettyMingLiu). Both feeds are on this blog’s sidebar to your right. I also post #food photos & more on my Instagram. :