A long time close family friend demonstrated her patience and her belief in my artwork by waiting over 10 years for me to be able to paint her, her “Monet”. For a long time I didn’t know if she was serious about having me do a painting for her. She would tell me that she thought a painting of azaleas would be nice, since we both were from Bethesda, MD and the azaleas in the spring time are spectacular. I had gone to work as the corporate artist for MBNA at the time and I was fully committed to painting full-time for them, so I told her when time permits I would love to paint a painting for her.
My wonderful career with MBNA lasted almost ten years and as soon as I was back to freelancing sure enough our good friend was there still waiting for her “Monet”. She knew she wanted azaleas in the painting but she wanted me to come up with some suggestions for the composition. Living in Williamsburg roughly an hour from Norfolk, I headed down to the Norfolk Botanical Gardens. The timing was perfect; the azaleas were in full bloom. I ran around taking all kinds of pictures of wild azaleas. As beautiful as the azaleas were though, they were mostly in a wooded setting without much interest surrounding them. I went home without inspiration.
One night not long after, a vision of Monet’s bridge popped into my head along with the beautiful gardens at Giverny. Almost simultaneously a vision of the arched bridge, pond, azaleas, arboretum like setting at the Golden Horseshoe Golf Club in Williamsburg, VA where I had played golf several times popped into my head. The next morning, all excited, I grabbed my camera loaded with film (before digital) and hurried down to what I was hoping would be the way I remembered it.
There it was. The lighting was good. The light yellow bridge with the Japanese influence was surrounded by azaleas. The dogwoods were in bloom and the mallards were enjoying a morning swim. It was exactly what I was looking for.
After presenting a colored sketch of the scene, our good friend Claudia finally got her “Monet”. Hardly a Monet, but I was pleased that the painting incorporated some elements of Monet’s beloved Giverny including the arched footbridge, the wonderful botanical surroundings and reflective pond which one could imagine flowering lily pads floating.
It was a commission that I enjoyed immensely and I thank Claudia and Chuck for their belief in my art and for their patience, devotion and support.