Monet at Te Papa - Proving that painting can be profitable
Monet at Te Papa - Proving that painting can be profitable

Wellington city is a great place to meet celebrities and so it was fitting that we should have an encounter with the world famous impressionist, Claude Monet, over the weekend. Ok so you know he’s not with us in body but artistically he is still very much alive and the 150,000 people who showed up to his exhibition at Te Papa museum confirms that. Just in case you were wondering, when I say impressionist I’m not referring to someone who makes a living from imitating all the quirky, strange people in the world, I’m talking about a quirky, strange person who dabs at a canvas (but in an extremely unique and talented way).

The Monet exhibition at Te Papa was pretty amazing, even for a non-arty like me (not quite a philistine but heading in that direction). It wasn’t long before I was completely absorbed in the visual symphony Monet creates with the flick of a brush he holds in his trademark ‘duck beak’ style. Up close you get the texture and flow of every brush stroke, it almost seems without purpose, then slowly you step away and the ‘impression’ comes alive before your eyes. A warm summer breeze, the chirp of happy sparrows in the meadow or the roar of an angry sea it’s all there contained within an aged, yet ornate, frame that barely holds it all together. While we were browsing the pieces, there were several school groups that passed through and it was great listening to the tour guides who did a fantastic job of trying to build appreciation for these amazing works of art into young kids. One of the guides referred to ‘pressing play’ on the painting which I thought was a great way to fire the imagination and helped me enjoy the experience even more. Unfortunately no photos were allowed (despite the fact you can do this quite freely in many of the bigger art galleries around the world) so I have no photos to show you but just take my word for it – they were worth seeing! And I hope the people who queued for three hours on Saturday agree with me (fortunately Crystal’s aunty had pre-bought some tickets so we just walked straight in to the exhibition – felt a little bit bad walking past all those people :)).

In other news, we wandered the streets of Wellington but didn’t spot any celebrities this time (except for the monkeys at Parliament – I’m sorry but our tour and stop in at the public gallery did nothing to raise my respect for a forum that in more ways then one resembles a scrapping schoolyard). We did a little shopping and some people watching (wellingtonians are fascinating – esp down Cuba mall – some guy insisted on giving me some lucky heather!) then headed back to home base at Crystal’s aunty’s place in Mt Cook, which is conveniently close.

Sunday was a lazy start (hmm no different from the previous two days!) and we headed out to the Mariana Surf Club for a hearty cooked breakfast (hearty, as in my heart would’ve cringed at the sight of all that cholestrol) with a fantastic view over Lyall Bay watching the planes navigate the landing in high winds (one Pacific Blue plane decided they wanted a second attempt, much to the amusement of everyone watching at the cafe). We then drove around the bay and stopped at the Weta Cave in Miramar, which gave us a fascinating look behind the scenes of the world famous (world famous in the world these days) of the Weta workshop and all the crazy girls and gals who work there (apparently there is a very long waiting list for jobs). Finished the day by navigating our way to Clint and Charlottes place for dinner, a fantastic three-course meal that was never short on taste and chutzpah (I use that word to describe the spicyness of the food not any particular person)!

By the time our flight left on Monday evening the storm had really died away so there were no issue with delays and our flight got back in good time. I whipped off to retrieve the car where I’d left it (leaving the car near the airport has worked really well the last two times we’ve done it) and Crystal hustled for the baggage. Mission accomplished, however getting up the next day at what other people refer to as a ‘normal time’ was going to be another story.

Meeting Monet at Te Papa
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