Saturday, July 4, 2009

Now I get it, Monet.

The last time I went to our place in the country, the pond had adopted some new inhabitants- water lilies. I'm pretty fascinated by water in general, as you may have noticed, and this development gave me a whole new angle on photographing water.

To be honest, I had never thought about why Monet painted waterlilies again and again. I guess I thought he painted them because, well, they were THERE.

I do understand why he was drawn to water as a subject, though. The colors, the effects of light on its surface, reflecting sky, land, trees- it's an ever-changing and mesmerizing show. Water can move with great force, carrying huge trees as if they were matchsticks, or be as absolutely still as the surface of a mirror. The mysteries of its depths and the life within them captivate me.

Water can appear as smooth as glass until broken by the undulation of a wave. Sometimes it looks like ice, or, oddly enough, jello. It encompasses three worlds: beneath, surface, and reflected above. Perhaps this is what gives it its magical qualities, often spoken of in fairy tales and other stories.

When I began to look at the lily pads on the water, I realized they were connected to the soil on the bottom of the pond by what appear to be long, thin strings. While I had always that they're green, in actuality they vary from yellow to green to red to purple. Moving with the liquid they rest upon, they float on top, and sometimes carry water themselves.

So I took bunches of pictures, not really expecting them to be very interesting.

When I downloaded them onto my computer, I was completely amazed. Why Monet never tired of painting them, why he put them on canvases as big as the side of a house- I get it now.

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