I’ve spent a lot of the last five years looking at how the lake water reflects the sun and how the two interact with one another on Lake Michigan. The way it helps to give shape and form to the water as it moves in the wind. Here, on this morning from early January 2021, the sun is helping to create a sumptuous liquidity to the water. Rich and velvety, the sun hits the peaks of the waves in the water, casting the troughs into shadow.
Each of these photos is similar and yet different. From moment to moment, the way the sun and the water interact with one another changes. Shifting constantly in relationship to each other.
Claude Monet’s, Les Meules à Giverny or Haystacks
There is of course, a long history in art, in particular painting, in the relationship between light, time of year, subject and landscape. One example that often comes to mind is Claude Monet’s Les Meules à Giverny, or Haystacks. I have linked above to the Met Museum who has a work from this series in their collection. This particular work focuses on the relationship between sun and snow on the haystacks. There is this relationship between sun and snow is something I’m exploring myself as winter is fully taking hold here in Chicago. In the painting included here, the relationship between sun and mist is studied beautifully by Monet. Additionally, there is a stunning work from this series on view at the Art Institute of Chicago that I am always drawn to when there, entitled, Stacks of Wheat (End of Summer).
His explorations span twenty-five canvasses in total. Each a subtle variation on the same subject, bales of hay sitting in a field, near his home. Taken in together, these paintings work to elucidate how constantly evolving the light of the sun is. From one hour to the next, over the course of a day. I find that the Lake Series, also works in similar ways. Taking on an individual subject and allowing the environment around it to shape how it is seen and understood through the course of the project.
Click the below photographs to see each of them individually in greater detail.