Whenever I’m lacking belief in my writing or stuck on a client project, I only have to take a quick visit to an old book to find some relief. Monet by himself. It’s an extensive selection from the more than 2,000 letters that French painter Claude Monet wrote during his lifetime — as well as stunning replications of hundreds of his paintings — all arranged in time sequence.

“We’re having marvelous weather and I wish I could send you a little of the sunshine. I am slaving away on six paintings a day.

I’m giving myself a hard time over it as I haven’t yet managed to capture the colour of this landscape; there are moments when I’m appalled at the colours I’m having to use, I’m afraid what I am doing is just dreadful and yet I really am understanding it; the light is simply terrifying.

I have already spent six sessions on some studies, but it’s all so new to me that I can’t quite bring them off; however the joy of it here is that each day I return to the same effect, so it’s possible to track down and do battle with an effect. That’s why I’m working so feverishly and I always look forward to the morrow to see if I can’t do better next time.”

Claude Monet (29 January 1884) Letter to Alice Hoschedé

How can you not feel inspired and ready to write again when you read Monet explaining the terrifying light, his feverish production schedule, and his ever willingness to try again tomorrow?

Bordighera by Claude Monet 1884
Bordighera 1884. An oil painting by Claude Monet painted in the Italian town of Bordighera during a 3 month working visit.
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