The Cats and I are ready for Spring!

After what feels like a year of rainfall and having received over 2 inches yesterday alone which broke records for the most rainfall received EVER in March at Dulles Airport, I am quite ready for the warmth of Spring and a profusion of colorful flowers.  On the grayest of days, of which we have had quite a few lately, I have learned to turned my focus inside, away from the dreary weather.  It is blue skies and sunshine in artwork that lifts my spirit.

I highly recommend the paintings of the Impressionists whose works capture the fleeting effects of light and atmosphere to chase away the gray of our current landscape.  Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s “Luncheon of the Boating Party,” which can be seen at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC features ladies and gentleman enjoying a warm day overlooking the Seine.  It is sure to bring a feeling of gaiety on a cold and rainy day. Another of my favorites is Claude Monet’s “The Japanese Footbridge” in the collection of the National Gallery.  The shades of green punctuated with yellow flowers and the purply-pink of water lilies is positively refreshing.  From my own Caticons collection, my favorite Impressionist work is Gabriel Edouard Thurner’s “Chats dans un Pré,” which translates as “Cats in a Meadow.”  (See above and on page 142 in Caticons.)  I long to bask in the sunshine and chase butterflies like the black and white mother cat and her three kittens resting amidst beautiful yellow and pink flowers.

According to a DVD that I have recently been watching about the Impressionists, they were at the time considered rebels.  The bold quick brushstrokes used to depict the ephemeral effects of shimmering light were considered crude and unfinished.  The art critic Louis Leroy (painter of “Chats Jouant Dans Une Grange (Cats Playing in a Barn)” found on page 32 in Caticons), said that the works of Monet were less finished than a wallpaper sketch and dubbed him an “Impressionist,” a term Monet and others in his group chose to embrace.

“Chats Jouant Dans Une Grange,” Louis-Joseph Leroy (Paris 1812-1885), 1839, oil on canvas, 50 x 62 5/8 inches.

I am grateful to the Impressionists for persevering despite their detractors.  It is their cheerful work that sustains me until Spring in all its glory arrives and the cats and I can revel outside in the garden.  As Shelley reminds us, “If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?”

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