After I finished my sketch at the lily pond, we went into the main house, where Monet had his first studio. (His final studio, which is even bigger, is now the gift shop) This was a big barn of a room with a landing at the entrance. As I stood on the landing, waiting for people to clear the stairs, I looked across the room at the double row of painting that hung starting at shoulder high. They must have been reproductions, but so many of them were familiar to me, it gave me the sudden palpable sense of being in his presence. Then, as I descended the stairs I had the thought that Monet must have touched this same stair rail thousands of times as he descended, already lost in thought about his current work.
I truly got goosebumps; that room had a powerful effect. Once again I was struck by the sense of a master painter who was determined to arrange his environment and life to create beautiful things to paint.
Then I went outside and found a quiet bench to sketch the roses on the garden wall, with a group of school children nearby, all with matching teal caps. I'm sure Monet would have wanted to paint them, too.