Walking with Claude

“Walking with Claude”
a drawing in oil pastels and coloured pencils of Monet’s house and garden in autumn.
320 x 400 mm. February 2018.

Does the spirit of Claude Monet walk in his garden?  He said his garden was his greatest masterpiece – so perhaps he lingers within its borders.  But all the tourists might drive him mad!  He (like many artists) used to be infuriated by the interruptions of curious people.

I like to think he may come and go – leaving when it is busy and returning when all is quiet.  The garden was nearly empty of people in late autumn of 2012 when I was there.

Who knows?  Perhaps we walked side by side sharing in silence our solitude.


On a former occasion, in 2005, I visited Giverny with my family.  Here I hand the page over to Matthew to introduce his song “Walking with Claude“…

Matthew, Emily, Lucy and Alicia on the Japanese bridge in Monet’s garden. August 2005. Photo by Julie

Walking with Claude  by Matthew Clements

“In the summer of 2005 we spent time in Monet’s garden.  It was during one of our last family holidays before Emily, Alicia and Lucy sprouted their own wings.

I wanted to write a song which somehow captured the artist in his idyll.  My mother, Barbara, was a gifted gardener.  I thought how she would have loved Monet’s garden but her advancing age made it unlikely she could ever make the journey.  In fact, she never visited Europe during her life.  So the song became my description to her of his wonderful garden.

By the time I wrote the song a year later, my own impending kidney failure somehow impacted the spirit of the song as I compared my mother’s mortality with my own.

The brilliant Perth guitarist and singer-songwriter Simon Nield, already with well advanced cancer that would soon take his life, found his own meaning in the lyric and recorded me singing it in his studio in 2007.  He then overlaid some of his own gorgeous guitar.  Thank you Simon!”


“Day Trip to Giverny”
Drawn in January 2018


5 thoughts on “Walking with Claude

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Were you there for both the floods and the snow, Jasmine? I was looking at photos on line. And I believe the floods brought out the rats! It sounds like Paris was still able to work its magic on you. Lovely to hear from you, Jasmine. (I hope you listened to Matthew’s song on this post.)

  1. anna warren portfolio

    This is a complete package – art and music! They work together very comfortably, each enhancing the other. Matthew’s voice reminds me of someone well-known, but I can’t quite put my finger on who it is. The song is beautifully poignant. I like the understated nature of this drawing, the implied misty garden with just a few precise clear booms in the front – it does imply autumn somehow. And something I noticed with these Monet’s garden drawings, they do evoke Monet’s colour palette, blues and turquoisey green.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Anna, I hadn’t listened to Matthew’s song for years, and neither had he. But while I was in the midst of “Day Trip to Giverny” I decided to tidy up and cull my CDs. There I found the recording. At first I didn’t want to listen to it because of the memory of his failing health pre-transplant. I thought it would be too painful a memory. (Just like I can’t listen to music from the 1997 period of living in Kalgoorlie – because it REMINDS me of my unhappy state in Kalgoorlie.) But after a week or so I decided to put it on, not knowing how I’d react. I’d even forgotten how it went. When I heard it my immediate feeling was delight. I played it to Matthew. He too had forgotten that it was a lovely song. It made a beautiful rediscovery for both of us, both in the song itself and as part of our valuable history together.
      Now I can’t even look at the latest drawing without the song playing in my mind.

      1. anna warren portfolio

        That is such a wonderful postscript to your post. Emotion and memories can be so powerful. Finding happy and positive responses like this simply add to making a complete package, with the drawing now included in that.

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