|Watercolor study of the Huron |
River in winter, Ann Arbor,
|Snowy woods in Ann Arbor, |
The painting depicts a black bird in a snow-covered landscape near Etretat and was painted on location. It was rejected by the jury of the famed Salon in 1869, according to the Musée d’Orsay, because Monet was more interested in perception than description, as was the custom of the respected painters of the day. What I love about the painting is that Monet captured that perception – you can feel the air, the cold, still tranquility of the winter’s day that Monet experienced. It’s all there, almost 150 years later.
|La Pie, Claude Monet, 1868, courtesy of the Musee d'Orsay.|
Yet when we take piece of bright white paper and place it over Monet’s snow-covered landscape, we find all kinds of colors – blues, pinks, purples, yellows. My students love this discovery – such a surprise! Snow is purple! When we really look at a snow-covered landscape we will discover the same thing, but only if we look carefully. The best feedback an art teacher can receive is from a parent who says “My kid showed me that snow can be purple – who knew?”We also have wonderful discussions about the color of water, but I’ll save that for a rainy day (not forecast anytime soon around here, sadly).