artNotes from Hyde House: The Art of Spring

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Mother Nature is making art in our sweet hometown! I cannot experience this sweet season without thinking once again of those masterful French Impressionists and how beautifully they were inspired to tenderly and boldly celebrate the paradise that is spring. I yearn for their companionship—to share time and space with them—to hear and to see through their ears and eyes.

The term “Impressionism” is a philosophical and aesthetic description borrowed from the French painting after Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise. Impressionism was a movement embraced by many artists and composers in Western classical music, mainly during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Their compositions focus on creating moods and emotions. Composers were labeled Impressionists by analogy to the Impressionist painters whose techniques included starkly contrasting colors (timbre) and the effect of light on an object, blurry foreground and background and the flattening of perspective to urge the observer to focus his attention on the overall impression.

For this sweet spring season, the artistic musical creations of Claude Debussy make him one of my favorite Impressionistic composers. Among the most influential composers of his era, (Achille) Claude Debussy was born 22 August 1862, in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France. He died in Paris on 25 March 1918. Among his major works are Clair de lune (Moonlight), Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune (Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun), La Mer (The Sea) and Printemps (Springtime). Debussy’s highly original system of harmony and musical structure expressed in many respects the ideals to which the Impressionist painters and writers of his time aspired.

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The painter Oscar-Claude Monet (14 November 1840–5 December 1926) was a founder of French Impressionist painting and the most consistent and prolific practitioner of the movement’s philosophy of expressing one’s perceptions before nature, especially as applied to plein air landscape painting.

Monet’s ambition of documenting the French countryside led him to adopt a method of painting the same scene over and over in order to capture the changing of light and the passing of the seasons. From 1883, Monet lived in Giverny, where he purchased a house and property. There he launched a vast landscaping project which included lily ponds and a Japanese bridge that would become the subjects of his best-known works. He began painting the water lilies in 1899, a series of large-scale paintings that was to occupy him continuously through all seasons for the next twenty years of his life.

Perhaps in this new season of your own life you will feel compelled to celebrate the artistry of our beautiful Carthage spring in the company of composers and painters like Debussy and Monet. The magic of our modern technology makes meeting up with them so easy. Turn on a sound system. Pop in a disc or choose a stream. Listen to your favorites. Open a book from your coffee table collection or check out a volume from artCentral’s Lending Library. Curl up in a comfy chair beside a favorite window. Journey through the delights the Impressionists have to offer.

Or…put in your earbuds, plug them into your phone, tune to an Impressionist composer and step outside. Take a walk through the wonder of Mother Nature’s creation and know we are being remarkably blessed by the artistry of Mother’s Nature’s spring in the making.

When next with your calendar, be sure to highlight Friday, April 7, 6:00-8:00 p.m., and plan to attend the Opening Reception for artCentral’s impressive springtime exhibition, RHYTHMS & THREADS, showcasing the vibrant new collection brought to Hyde House by artists Clint & Mary Thornton!

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