Ever wonder why Monet produced close to 250 paintings of water lilies in his garden at Giverny during the last thirty years of his life? Standing in front of a large fountain on the grounds of Mission San Juan Capistrano last weekend, I appreciated his fascination with these exotic plants as I snapped photo after photo of them. Large, colorful, variegated leaves floated peacefully on the surface of the dark, murky water, while bright spikes of blossoms opened up to the sky. There’s a Chinese proverb that says, “When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.” After seeing the beauty of these water lilies, I understand both the proverb and Monet much better.
#1 – Monet Trivia Quiz
Want to test your knowledge about Monet? Below is a short trivia quiz I adapted from an About.com article.
1. What were Monet’s first names?
A. Claude Oliver.
C. Oliver Claus.
D. Claus Oscar.
2. What school of art did Monet and his associates establish?
3. Were the artists who participated in this show known as Impressionists before the exhibition?
A. No, they came up with the name afterwards, when their paintings had made a good impression on the public.
B. Yes, they came up with the name specifically for the exhibition.
C. Yes, Monet had been labeled an Impressionist several years before.
D. No, a reviewer sarcastically entitled his article on the show the ‘Exhibition of the Impressionists’ and the name was adopted.
4. From 1890 Monet started series paintings, repeating the same scene. Why?
A. He was experimenting with different materials.
B. When he grew dissatisfied with a painting he would throw it away.
C. He was making multiple copies to sell.
D. He was preoccupied with capturing the way light looked at a particular moment.
5. What part of Monet’s garden at Giverny was his greatest source of inspiration?
A. The rose garden.
B. The herb garden.
C. The lily pond.
D. The irises.
6. Which of Monet’s senses failed?
A. His hearing.
B. His sight.
C. His touch.
D. His taste.
7. What is the name of the Museum in Paris which houses Monet’s waterlily murals?
A. The Louvre.
B. The Museum d’Orsay.
C. The Marmottan Museum.
D. The Orangerie.
Answers: 1. B; 2. C; 3. D; 4. D; 5. C; 6. B; 7. D
#2 – Unplug to Save Electricity
There are many electronic devices in our households that use electricity even when they are not actively being used. According to an article that was put out by my local electricity provider, “Household electronics, including those in your bathroom, office and kitchen, can add up to about 15 percent of your home’s electricity use.” The article lists as culprits,”rechargeable battery-powered cordless phones, electric toothbrushes, computers, printers, cell phone and digital camera charges, music players, rechargeable power tools and video game and entertainment equipment. These chargers and adapters draw power whenever they are in an outlet.” Where practical, learn to unplug these devices when not in use and/or use power strips as the central turn off point for various appliances and device chargers.
#3 – Amazing Sculptures Under the Sea
Explore artist’s Jason de Caires Taylor gallery of photos of his incredible, life-sized, underwater, concrete sculptures. His website explains, “Jason de Caires Taylor’s underwater sculptures create a unique, absorbing and expansive visual seascape. Highlighting natural ecological processes Taylor’s interventions explore the intricate relationships that exist between art and environment. His works become artificial reefs, attracting marine life, while offering the viewer privileged temporal encounters, as the shifting sand of the ocean floor, and the works change from moment to moment.”
#4 – Books Should Be Free
Books Should Be Free offers free audio books from the public domain. You can “download a free audio book in mp3, iPod, or iTunes format” in 25 different languages, including Ancient Greek! You can preview a book before you download it to verify whether or not you like the reader’s style. Many of the books have been recorded by volunteers through LibriVox, another organization offering free audio books. “LibriVox volunteers record chapters of books in the public domain and publish the audio files on the Internet. Our goal is to record all the books in the public domain.” If you have a great voice and love to read, consider volunteering to read and record one of your favorite books.
#5 – A Rich Proverb
If you want to feel rich, just count all the gifts you have that money cannot buy.
Enjoy your beautiful autumn weekend!