Le Jardin de Claude Monet

Claude Monet's house and garden in autumn.

Claude Monet’s house and garden.

I invite you to click onto the photos and drawings to see the detail.

One of Monet's Japanese bridges.

The Japanese Bridge

Jardin d'Eau

Jardin d’Eau (The Water Garden)

Willows, lilies and bridge.

Willows, lily pads and bridge.

Exactly one year ago, last October, I visited Claude Monet’s house and garden at Giverny.  It was the end of October so the garden was only open to the public for one or two more days before its winter hibernation.  Hard to believe that it would soon be closed as the flower beds in front of the house were still riotous with colour.  I wrote in my journal, “I found the garden too much – like a feast of overly-rich food.  I probably got my best pictures outside the garden [in the village] because I could isolate elements and concentrate on them.  Inside the garden I just didn’t know which way to turn because it was a firework display of flowers all going off at once.”

"The Welcoming Cat" coloured pencil drawing; 285 x 330 mm. 2013

“The Welcoming Cat” coloured pencil drawing; 285 x 330 mm. 2013

"Interlude" coloured pencil drawing, 280 x 300 mm. 2012

“Interlude” coloured pencil drawing, 280 x 300 mm. 2012

Two drawings from that trip are of a small cat who trotted up to see me.  I was photographing rose bushes in Giverny, not far from le jardin de Claude Monet.  After she greeted me, she stopped on the corner to observe her surroundings.  Then she disappeared into the café just beside us.  “The Welcoming Cat” and “Interlude” are now framed and hanging on the walls at home, reminding me of Giverny in autumn.

In April this year I revisited le jardin de Claude Monet.  Having been there just before it closed for winter, I was back at the beginning of spring as it reopened.  This time I had Matthew with me and it was the first really warm and sunny day of the season.  We went to the corner café for coffee and cake.  I asked the owner about the little cat.  In my journal I wrote, “The man at the café said yes, it is their cat and the cat at the moment is somewhere.”  I thought this was a good description of the cat’s whereabouts.  Anyone who knows cats understands about ‘somewhere’ ie anywhere; for cats are independent individuals who go where they wish.

Vapour trails above Giverny in April.

Vapour trails above Giverny in April.

Enchanted April. Daffodils with Japanese bridge.

Enchanted April. Daffodils with Japanese bridge.

Daffodil fields in front of the house.

Daffodil fields in front of la maison.

Our guide, the debonair Oliver, told us that Monet chose Normandy over all the places he could live (for by the time he bought the property he was rich).  He required an area with soft light, the sort in which rain falls every second day.   Oliver followed up by saying that more alcohol is consumed in Normandy than in any other region in the world due to that same miserably consistent rain which Monet wanted for his art!

I have also been to the garden in mid summer (in 2005) when the water lilies are abundant.  At that time of year tourists are also abundant!  In late autumn and early spring the water lilies weren’t flowering but to compensate, there were hardly any visitors.  In both October and April one could contemplate in peace.

On the way back to Australia I managed to get my Monet water lily image – in Singapore of all places – down at Marina Bay Sands.  I took this photo about 36 hours after being in Giverny.  I think the spirit of Monet’s garden was still in my eye.  I am considering making a drawing from this photo.  Maybe one day.

Water lilies in Singapore.

Water lilies in Singapore.

Afterword: speaking of cats, you might like to see this view below.  This is a scene right here in front of me now.  I have my draft up on the computer screen and my journals (from which I quoted) laid out on the desk.  My cat, Saphie, would like my attention so she has plonked herself centre stage.  For the moment, this is Saphie’s somewhere.

Saphie in the midst of 'Monet's Garden' blog post composition.

Saphie invading my ”le jardin de Claude Monet” thoughts.

In January 2018 I am attempting a drawing in mixed media from one of my photos.

In 2018 I made drawings from the first two photos in this post.

“Day Trip to Giverny”
Drawn in January 2018

“Walking with Claude”
Sennelier oil pastels, and coloured pencils on Arches Aquarelle smooth.

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4 thoughts on “Le Jardin de Claude Monet

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Thanks for your comment, Sherry. Saphie is also saying “It is time for my evening snack so by putting myself here, I remind you of this fact.” She does this every evening. If I was sitting at my easel, she would be sitting on top of my coloured pencils.

  1. Gail H. Shelton

    I have also visited this garden, and it was beautiful. I was able to paint on location in the water garden, and a nice Japanese woman sat and watched me. A Japanese woman, in Monet’s Japanese garden, watching an American paint…very cool. I have been there in April and July, and both visits offered an abundance of photos and memories. And I also have cats that are always somewhere! Love your work, and your posts.


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