Matisse, Monet and Miss Jenny Day !

Matisse, Monet and Miss Jenny Day !

Hi there!
Good of you to drop in.
Friday’s blog a private peek, right?
Well, let me tell you about my day yesterday.
It was absolutely brilliant. 
I caught the train to Charing Cross in the morning,
and – it being a lovely sunny day –
I decided to walk to my destination, 
rather than scurry around on the underground. 
Across Trafalgar Square and towards Picadilly Circus.
It was a glorious morning, 
and there was a real upbeat vibe in the city.
Opposite Fortnum and Masons I stopped.
There it was: The Royal Academy. 
I walked through the archway and started looking for my date….
There she was, sitting underneath the statue!
Miss Jenny Day, my old art teacher!
She was fabulous then,
and she’s even more fabulous now. 
I cannot tell you how brilliant the next few hours were!
For Jenny, dare I say Jenny, and not Miss Day? it was probably a run of the mill kind of experience in a gallery, 
looking at the old masters and enjoying the art.
For me though, it was much much more than that.
Not only was I hanging out with the legend that is Miss Day
(she doesn’t realise how we all idolised her at school!),
but I also got a perfect one on one guide to the greats.
In her own inimitable, modest way, she guided me round the gallery, chatting about Monet, about Matisse, about Van Gogh,
explaining to me the essence of Impressionism. 
We looked at the Monet’s studies of Water Lilies,
Claude Monet
How he came back at different times of the day and painted the same thing in different lights. 
Claude Monet
She told me about his garden in the North of France at Giverny. 
It sounds perfect. Jenny was saying that when you go there, 
it’s like walking into his paintings. 
So I’m thinking I would like to take a trip this summer with Dave….
In a very logical way, she talked about the art of light and shade, 
the skill of colour.
Santiago Rusiñol
The way the artist was using this colour and that colour 
to achieve a certain effect.
It was incredible.
I didn’t speak much. I was soaking up what Jenny was telling me like the proverbial sponge. 
Lauritz Tuxen


Monet definitely carried the show!
But there were some other fabulous masterpieces which drew me in.
One the subject of gardens, the Japanese Painter, 
Hiroshige had me entranced.
When you get in really closely, you see the little people !

So we spent quite some time wandering around the rooms of the Painting the Modern Garden Exhibition.
There was a rather dodgy looking painting on the wall.
It looked half-finished, the colour was mushy and the perspective was very off.
You can’t help the thoughts that come into your head, can you?
You just don’t have to say them out loud.
So I was looking at it, thinking about how crap this particular painting was.
Suddenly, Jenny the mind reader, said, “Yes, it’s crap isn’t it. 
But art doesn’t have to be perfect. It is a journey of expression, and it is just as important to see the art in between the art.” 
It was as if she lifted a massive weight off my shoulders.
The performance does not have to be perfect. 
Better to perform and get it less than right than not to perform at all. 
We have been working towards this for years, you and I, 
haven’t we ?!
But to see a HUGE very dodgy painting in the Royal Academy by one of the most famous artists ever in the world
And to finally grasp the importance of it on HIS journey.
I felt very honoured to be privvy to his experiment phase. 
Do you know what I mean?
We are always seeking approval for our artwork, aren’t we?
We post it on Facebook, we hand friends our cards and wait for them to praise us. 
We showcase it TV, we get it published in magazines, and we think we have reached the pinnacle!
Staring at this Dodgy art, I suddenly understood what it’s all about. It WAS dodgy, there’s no doubt about that. 
But it was an experimental phase of an artist who was breaking the chains, the perfection of art prior to impressionism. 
That made it a masterpiece. No. A VITAL link. 
We were looking at a Van Gogh, which was very beautiful.
Jenny whispered to me, 
“He only ever sold one painting, you know, just before he died.”
So I looked him up this morning. He painted 900.
I want to read more about him now.
Yes, I want to go to France, to Monet’s garden, 
and I want to learn more about Van Gogh.
If you can, if you have time, I can only tell you that a visit to this exhibition is illuminating.
Being guided gently through by Jenny made my visit enlightening and magical though. 
When we were galleried out, 
we went over the road to Fortnum & Masons for lunch.
It was excellent.
But what was even more excellent was the catch up.
40 years of catch up.
We talked for 5 hours non stop. 
We sat by a window and gassed all afternoon. 
It was amazing how much Jenny and I actually have in common. 
I feel different today. 
There’s been a shift in my reality. 
And I have Jenny to thank for that.
love & hugs.

118 thoughts on “Matisse, Monet and Miss Jenny Day !

  1. Morning Barbara. You will love Monet's Garden. Carrie went there a few years back…. Couldn't stop talking about it, how peaceful and colourful.
    Have a great day. Off to do some organising and some crafting. Xxx

  2. Morning Barbara. You will love Monet's Garden. Carrie went there a few years back…. Couldn't stop talking about it, how peaceful and colourful.
    Have a great day. Off to do some organising and some crafting. Xxx

  3. So glad you enjoyed your day, just what you needed methinks.
    I love art galleries and am lucky to have been to quite a few. Monet's garden in July and August is wonderful It's not just that the flowers are amazing it's the perfume on a hot day and the light and shadow, the rustling and movement of everything.
    An amazing art space is the Orangerie in Paris. They have the whole panorama of Monet's waterlilies all around the walls in a big circle and they are enormous and breathtaking. To see from a distance and then to look up close at all the colours and brush strokes filled me with awe. There is a good exhibition downstairs too and a good thing about the place is that you can get so close to everything, no barriers to keep you back.

  4. What a wonderful day you had. I'm envious. I'm lucky enough to have my own Matisse, albeit by his grandson Pierre Henri Matisse. I have looked at it every day for the past eight years but it still gives me a thrill, not only the painting itself but the fact that he knew so many of the artists of his grandfather's time. The likes of Picasso! I will never tire of my painting – ever! Xx

  5. Hi Barb,
    How wonderful. I bet you had a brilliant day. Monet is one of my favourite artists , I love the colours he uses. I've never been to the Royal Academy but every time we go to London , we go and look at the Impressionist paintings and also the Turners,Hobbs,Constables in the National Gallery. We also went to the Courthauld ( not sure if that's spelt correctly) Gallery which was fantastic. It must have been great for you to have someone really knowledgeable explaining things to you. Dave and I just look in awe and decide if we like or don't like. I try to sound as if I know what I'm talking about but it's probably just rubbish coming out of my mouth! I really got into Seurac' s paintings on one visit – I just couldn't believe you could do something so brilliant by just putting dots on the canvas. Anyway enough rambling from me, I'm so pleased that you got caught up with your teacher and that you had a great day. Love Alison xxx

  6. Hi Barbara, what a lovely day out you both had. Monet and impressionism is my favourite style of painting, would love to go to art exhibitions, but not possible now, have a good day xxx

  7. Hi Barbara – reading your blog brought back funny memories of taking my children to a monet exhibition – they enjoyed the first room or so but then as youngsters do got bored – so my daughter ran into the next room – shouting back – its more Lilies – then the next room – the same cry went up – I commented to my husband that you can see how the colours changed when monet developed cataracts – my daughter then tells the whole room – its not just more lilies these are the wrong colour cos he was getting old so dont be disappointed !! My children are now 30 and 28 but neither have ever forgotten the visit – My son named his daughter lily last year so it can't have scarred him too much lol !!

  8. I am daily learning the importance of Joy in the Journey. I would rather strive for excellence, rather than perfection. Perfection can kill creativity, as it leaves no wiggle-room for originality. But if I aim for excellence, there is wonder in the sense of achievement.Sounds like you had a fantastic day, on so many levels.

    1. "Perfection can kill creativity, as it leaves no wiggle-room for originality" – WOW! What an incredible statement!! I can now finish the watercolour painting I had turned face about as it wasn't perfect! Thank you so much for helping me let go and free myself.

  9. Hi Barbara, what a wonderful insightful day you had with a lovely lady, like yourself who obviously was happy to share her wisdom and knowledge as do you! I remember the effect watching you many years ago had on me! You were so willing to teach and show others what was achievable with no preciousness. Thank you for your daily blog which I find so inspiring, even if I do not do so much with it.
    Hope you have a lovely day today xx

  10. Fun to read and you dragged me into memorylane back to my art-teacherr; good memories!
    I was in Monet's garden and walked around and found it a magical place! It is not only a beautiful garden (and house), but somehow you really catch a glimp of how it must have been to live and make art there…
    I'm so lucky that I live in one of the places where Vincent van Gogh has lived and worked (Nuenen in the Netherlands) and so lucky that there is so much to learn about him and his artwork in the Vincent van Goghcentre here in our town. Sometimes you just have to realize that it is special, because we all here think it is quiet normal…:)
    Have a colourfull weekend!

  11. Hi Barbara thank you for sharing your special day with us. I too love Monet. We were told by an Art teacher, of a lovely small Musee to the west of Paris, Musee Marmottan, which is a small Parisian mansion all about Monet. We visited it and I can thoroughly recommend it, no queues and you can get up close and personal.
    Nothing like a lovely catch up with a dear friend to reconfirm everything is well in your world! I am experimenting with the gelli this morning ……. On the journey!
    Talking of catching up with dear friends and continuing the journey, can't wait too see you all in July! Xx

  12. What a wonderful day you enjoyed with your art teacher. Would love to visit Monet's garden. Went to visit the Louvre a few years ago and was very disappointed that I couldn't find Monet or the three Impressionists. They were in another museum which sadly we didn't get to visit. Thank you for sharing your day with us. Love Pam xxx

    1. Hello Pam
      I know what you mean about the louvre – everybody was queueing to see the Mona Lisa and all around were beautiful paintings almost being ignored. Hope you are ok today, sorry to hear you were at your cousins funeral yesterday. I know what you mean about only meeting up at funerals, it's time for a birthday get together instead! Have a good weekend xx

  13. Wow Barbara what a wonderful day for you both now you will have some lovley memories of the day Thank you for sharing your day crafting hugs xxx

    1. Hello dear blog friends I've been to podiatry this afternoon and my friend called round as she wants me to make her a card so hopefully will craft over the weekend don't want to temp fate but I've had a good day xxx

  14. Hi Donna, Sheila, Diane, Brenda,Dot, Morag, Gilly and Alison, hope you feel better today Sheila and Gilly. Hope you are all having a good day, no sunshine here as yet. Not feeling too good myself today, bad tummy all night, didn't get up until 11.30. Love Pam xxx

  15. Hi Barbara, such a beautiful and relaxing blog post, I felt like I was on your journey through the gallery. It sounds like you had a most wonderful day. …just perfect. Hugs. Xx

  16. Hi Barbara, What a fantastic day you both must have had. I adore the impressionist painters, especially Monet. My hubby and I went to Paris for the second time, straight to the Musee D'Orsay to see my favourite (at the time) which was Monet's La Pie, and couldn't find it anywhere, we went to the Information desk and found out that it had been lent out to another country to exhibit, it was so upsetting at the time, but I consoled myself with all the other impressionists haha.
    I'm so glad you both had such a brilliant time yesterday.
    Lots of love from Patricia xx

  17. How very fortunate you were/are to know such an inspirational art teacher. Sadly, my own experience of art at school was a real turn-off. Looking at the pair of you in that photo it's pretty hard to imagine that either of you were more than babes-in-arms 40 years ago! Proof that ART promotes eternal youth?
    Tonbridge Sue

  18. What an incredible journey to take in just a few short hours, coming home with a new perspective. It's fantastic for you Barbara, and so lovely for us to read about. Thank you. xxx

  19. Hello to all of my lovely new friends. Have had the results of MRI today..and no recurrence of Big 'C', so not bothered about anything else!! Thank yo for your good wishes. special Hugs to you all. Haven't slept much so going to get my head down on the sofa. xxx

    1. I am totally overwhelmed by all of your wonderful comments. I can't even begin to explain how much they mean to me. Thank you so much. Love and Hugs to you all xxx

  20. Hi Barbara,
    what a beautiful day you had with Jenny in London.
    Thanks of the WWW I had the chance two weeks ago to contact a friend which I used to know 40 years ago.
    She is married in the Netherlands and we will meet this summer in Amsterdam…
    Rolf xxx

  21. What a lovely day you had with a dear friend , love them kind of days , a few weeks a go I meet a crafting friend who lives in London and she took me to The Victoria and Albert Museum , and we ended up having afternoon tea in The House of Fraser , which was all so very girlie ,,lovely day ,,. In the V&A we looked at the fashion , and the jewery ,,.

  22. How wonderful to have an art teacher who inspired you. A lovely way to spend the day, I love listening to other peoples stories. Make that trip with Dave, will be good. xx

  23. So pleased that your day was so wonderful and that you enjoyed a 5 hour 40 year catch up with someone who inspired you. Sounds like a wonderful place to go for a special type of holiday??? Lol Thanks for sharing.

  24. Fab day out for you … we visited Monet's garden some years ago whilst on holiday in France, it is beautiful and I'm sure you will enjoy it…we also went inside the house and it was only then I realised why a friend had commented on our kitchen being like Monet's… was blues and yellows, just like our old kitchen!!

    Art is so subjective, we all like different things, thank goodness, I like Monet but, I adore Lowry's works and am in the process of cross stitching a copy of one of his paintings…the only way I could copy his work as can't paint for toffee xxx

  25. What an amazing day you had. I love Monet, I just think it's fab how close up blobs of paint become a beautiful painting when you step back, I with I could do that. The Santiago Rusiñol painting is stunning – how clever to put the light in the back which just keeps going further and further back.

  26. Days out like this are always a joy. Went to Monet's garden a few years ago in June. It was lovely but very crowded, so perhaps didn't see it at its best. The house was beautiful. It must have been a real treat to live here. Looking at my photos shows how lovely both house and gardens are. You must go to see for yourself, paintings come to life.

  27. Glad you had a wonderful day, and you enjoyed the exhibition. I was in awe when I went to see it, swept along from one beautiful painting to the next. The Monet's were stunning of course and the van Gough, but the one that I stood looking at for the longest was the one by Santiago Rusiñol that you have posted above. It just glowed, I couldn't believe how an artist could get that feeling of sunlight onto a canvas using paint. Xx

  28. Without being rude how old is she?! Given she was your teacher 40 years ago she's looking pretty good (as are you of course but she must be at least 20 years older surely?!)

  29. What a wonderful day Barb. Was she really your teacher ….I agree Jenny looks so good! To have her as a guide must have been bliss and followed by tea, what a perfect end to your visit. She must be so proud of what you have achieved, you have already sold more that Mr VG!!!Enjoy your weekend xx

  30. I am so envious. What a wonderful experience and your words are so right. My day – well surfice it to say, I do not want to see all the drunken people in my court room ever, ever again. Also along with all the people who do not seem able to tell the truth. I must get my groovi out and make the day go away. I did hope for my parcel today but sure it will come soon.
    Have a good weekend to you, Dave and all the bloggers.
    Anne (Reading)

    1. Hello Anne, I do feel for you having to put up with all the rubbish you have from you 'customers' – you must have the patience of a saint. Have a lovely relaxing groovi weekend and just think, only 4 days next week! Xxx

    2. Hello Anne I agree this blog is full of such wonderful caring people and it's a pleasure to read each day and makes my day special hugs dear blog friend xxx

  31. These are the words that will be my new motto — The performance does not have to be perfect.
    Better to perform and get it less than right than not to perform at all. —- sometimes Im almost paralyzed because I know that my cards can't be perfect so I I procrastinate . Thanks so much for these encouraging words . Janice / jan

  32. Hi Barbara
    What a fantastic day out and oh my goodness your teacher must have been so young, but obviously very inspirational. I would love to go to Monets gardens, I've always enjoyed his paintings and loved seeing some in the National Gallery. Fortnum and Masons is wonderful too, what a fantastic treat for you both. I do like your thinking, you sound more relaxed and comfortable today, yesterday was just what you needed. Thank you for sharing your day with us.
    Love Diane xxx
    Ps you are brave, I met my old singing teacher not long ago, still had to call her by her full name and still quaked in my boots in case she told me off – sometimes I think we never grow up!! Xxx

  33. So glad you had a good time yesterday Barbara. This exhibition is one that I want to get to and you've made me feel even more determined to get there. And how right that the performance doesn't have to be perfect – now if only I can remember that as I throw a piece of 'dodgy' art in the bin. 🙂 hugs xx

  34. Hi Barbara – thank you for the private peeks – its the one day of the week blogs I personally really enjoy as you share so much – and gives me a deeper insight to what makes you tick. My Mum has been to Monets garden – she oozed about how beautiful it is. I love how any artist (big or small) can capture light in their paintings – one for me is Thomas Kinkade known as the painter of light – Bluewater has a gallery full of his art – and at Christmas they take on a special glow and invoke warm feelings – Bob Ross – did you ever watch him on TV – his ability to start with black gesso and with simple strokes of acrylics with palette knives and ranges of brushes he would create wonderful woodland scenes with archs of light or crashing sea scenes with the light in the waves – I admire so much that talent in any artist – both old and new. How wonderful to have spent a day with your old art teacher too – a special day – though I am sure she must look at you and feel great pride.
    Much love

  35. Do visit Monets garden the house lake boat and garden are just as you envisage them and Giverney is a lovely village.the only toilet was in a cafe!!! And the flower seller would not me take a photo with out payment extortion but it was a fab day.We stayed in Rouen which is lovely and quite interesting as well.Think about the garden seasons we went at the end of May and they were replanting the gardens but the water Lily's were just coming into flower x

  36. What a wonderful day, I feel your positive energy uplifting and that's saying something as I've had a very stressful few days (poorly pooch).
    I am definitely one of those people who thinks everything needs to be perfect or I don't try must shake that habit off and JFDI lol xx

  37. What a lovely blog today – and to think that your teacher from childhood can still inspire you to think and feel differently today as an adult. There was a Monet canvas at the National Gallery that was always my "right-sizing" place to just go and sit when I worked in central London. Susan x

  38. Once a teacher always a teacher. It must be lovely to be a teacher that has been so inspirational to their pupils that they are still remembered by them in adulthood. My English Literature teacher was like this – Mrs Williams. She brought everything to life. When I lived in London in my younger years I used to visit the galleries. The thing that struck me most was that the canvas's you see in a book, some of them are huge. I also remember seeing a pencil drawing of Leonardo di Vinci and being awestruck by the thought that he had once been sitting looking at the exact same image when he created it all those hundreds of years ago and here it was in front of me. My favourite painting of Van Gogh's is "Starry Night". Thanks again for your well wishes yesterday. Eddie and me are recovering and his wounds seem to be healing ok. Furry hugs and much love Jayne

  39. So glad that you had such a wonderful and enlightening day. I love visiting art galleries and guided tours such as yours are so uplifting and informative. I love taking school groups to galleries as I too learn so much from the guides although none of them were my art teacher from 40 yrs before. Can't begin to imagine how that must feel. Love and hugs, Jeanette xxxx

  40. Hi Barbara, it's very clear to see that you had a truly wonderful day with your art teacher. She obviously played a huge part in your life, and helped to set you on your way to where you are now. I am sure that I can speak for everyone here – when I say that you are a continuing inspiration and incredible teacher to us all, and we are very thankful to you for that.
    I had a really good art teacher for a couple of years, and one of my favourite memories is of doing lino printing onto fabric. We did it in 3 stages, using 3 different colour paints and cut out some more of the lino before changing to the next colour paint, it was wonderful. Happy memories, hugs Gilly xx

  41. Hi Sheila, Morag, Donna, Alison, Diane, Pam, Dot and Brenda – I am happy to be able to say that I have had another good day. We left God's County (Cornwall) and ventured over the Tamar into Devon today, but unfortunately it meant leaving the sun behind! We had lunch out again! We really are 'seizing the moment' this week – enjoying the better weather and the quieter times here, before the Easter rush starts. We will stay at home then, as it just gets too busy. We always enjoy driving back into Cornwall across the Tamar Bridge – on the right hand side – in Saltash – is the 20 metre high Celtic Cross which was erected 2 years ago. It is stunning! Have a happy crafting weekend – hugs Gilly xxx

    1. Hello gilly lovley to read you have had a lovley day out with your hubby the days are so special for you both ,I understand what you meen about the Easter holidays when I lived in Scarborough the holidays was always so busy hope you have a lovley weekend hugs xxx

  42. So pleased you had a wonderful time with your old art teacher Barbara and having her expert knowledge obviously made the experience unforgettable! I went to Giverny on a trip to France about 18 months ago and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. We had wonderful sunshine and the house though not huge was very pretty in a charmingly rustic but at the same time elegant French style with lots of wonderful paintings. Then the garden …. fantastic bright and pretty flowers and the pond with the water lilies and that iconic bridge … you could just imagine Monet sitting there painting it! You will love it when you go. x

  43. What a wonderful experience. Monet is my favourite artist. I have been to Monet's garden and it is such a fantastic place. There was an old man wandering around the garden who was the spitting image of the man himself. I went up to him and congratulated him on his wardrobe and makeup, only to find out he was a guest.

  44. Hi, I took my daughter to see this exhibition 3 weeks ago. It was fabulous. Little did I think 50 years ago when I was studying O level Art that I would see all these magical paintings in one day and under one roof. We were also fortunate that we were able to view the tryptych at the end on our own for a good 5 minutes.
    Makes my efforts look a bit feeble- but I know friends appreciate them and they are made with love.
    Keep up the good work Barbara

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