I relate to Impressionist paintings.

They mirror the everyday heroism of the ordinary individual. The artist does not seek perfection in every detail and yet, in totality, the grand effect is that of subtle beauty and a testament to fine adeptness. And like the peculiarities of everyday lives, the artist forgoes details, where details may be a conventional wisdom, and focusses on minutiae of light, hues, shades and moods lost on the casual eye.

Often, people did not figure prominently in Monet’s work. Their absence however never detracted from the scene’s marvel. Their occasional presence seldom drew attention away from the main attraction which lay in the collective achievement of humanity, whether it be the conservation of nature, the grand designs of engineering, or the disciplined splendour of horticulture.

In his paintings of Waterloo Bridge, man is strikingly present though visually absent. She might be a distant pedestrian in the London backdrop, or a cause behind the smog and fumes ingeniously captured on canvas. There is also at times the solitary figure, labouring or liesuring alone in a boat.

It is never clear to me whether the boat is adrift or on a purposeful course, but when I look hard enough I can always see it rocking, hear the seagulls, the ripples and the faint hustle of Westminster.

It is the way I like my people too; present but distant. Leaves in a hedge maze where I can lose myself in tranquillity, happy in the thought that, for someone else, I too am another insignificant leaf in a solid and intricate maze of hedges.


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