Impressionist painter Claude Monet did not become commercially successful until relatively late in his life. By that time, he was prosperous enough to buy a farm estate at Giverny, located a train-ride trip from Paris. Here’s a picture of him in his eighties, seated on a bench near the pond on the estate where he painted his masterwork series of water-lily panoramas.
I first saw this photo in the gift shop at Giverny. It’s a wall-sized blowup. I see him all dressed up in his three-piece suit – very probably, his best – waiting for the photographer. He has a straw hat to shade his eyes. He usually wore one with his bib overalls and old long-sleeved shirt when he painted. Perhaps this is a new one. You can almost see the gold-rimmed spectacles staring out beneath the brim. And the long beard was a trademark, dating from back in the day when it wasn’t all white.
I could imagine his saying to me, “Well, let’s get on with it.” Or, “What are you waiting for?”
I have a framed copy of it on the wall in my bathroom.
He asks me those questions every morning.