Monday, November 19, 2012

On Mistakes

Yesterday, I wrote about how I went to the fine art museum at the Bellagio, and that I saw Grainstacks at Sunset, a painting I mention in Across the Universe. I saw another painting, and it really struck me as amazing, and I want to talk about it now.


This painting, Woodgathers at the Edge of the Forest by Monet in 1863 was one I barely glanced at when I started wandering through the collection. I thought there was an odd shadow in it, but thought nothing of it. Fortunately, the docent tour started soon after, and the docent spoke about this one specifically.

See, if you look at the painting just right, you can see the faint remains of a tree sprouting right in the middle of the painting.

I've looked online (to no avail) to find a detailed image of this. It's the sort of thing you'd NEVER see unless you just happened to be standing in the right corner, when the light hits it just so. And suddenly, you can't help but see the perfect outline of a tree hidden behind the blue paint of the sky and the green of the grass.

It was there. Monet just edited it out.

It was sort of amazing to see a mistake in a work of art by Monet. We see the end result, and we often forget the work that goes into it. There's a saying--it's been going around Pinterest but I can't find it atm--about how we usually judge others by their end results whereas we're still looking at our own finished products. It's easy to see how brilliant others are when all we see is the finished result. I read books sometimes and I stand in awe of their brilliance and despair of my own work. But I am looking at my tree that I've yet to cover up with paint.

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