John Howley’s Monet

Australian artist, John Howley talks about his own  work which captures Claude Monet in his garden. 

The history how this painting of mine came about in 1993  spans four decades.

As a student I advanced my painting skills by copying  the painters of the Renaissance and the Flemish School. Later I was influenced by German Expressionism. After a short abstract period I was strongly influenced in the 70’s by the art of tribal people. A cancer scare brought me closer to nature in my work. From then on for a period I painted flowers and birds in a romantic imaginative style which was contrasting with the bulk of my other work of strong, fauve-like images.

At the time of my Monet painting I had already adopted a strong geometrical style reflecting modern technology and its impact on our contemporary world.

From then on I alternated images executed in a symbolic and fantastic language with nature related motifs, which were rarely painted in situ but mostly taken from other references.

I came across a photo in a magazine that featured a black and white photo of Monet in his garden. As an artist who relies totally on imagination it was natural for me to fill in the colours in my own way and I consider it as homage to Monet.

The current exhibition moved me deeply, because now that I live in the country I can sympathize more with Monet’s constant love and involvement with his intimate environment. The viewer might also detect the veils of colour over which more expressive brushstrokes float and take on a kaleidoscopic rhythm of light in nature.