In the summer of 1869, two unknown artists set up their easels next to each other beside a bistro in Paris called "La Grenouillere." The name means “frog pond” although strangely enough, the body of water next to the restaurant contained no frogs. I’ve heard that “frog” (or its French equivalent) was slang for girls of flirtable quality, although if I were a girl of flirtable quality, I’m not sure I’d be flattered by the reference to warty amphibians, but I digress. The two artists faced the pond and began to paint, each in his own style, each with a slightly different perspective. The resulting paintings now hang in New York’s Metropolitan Museum and Stockholm’s National Museum. The artists were Claude Monet and Auguste Renoir.
It’s a shame that the paintings are now on two separate continents because, while they are each beautiful in their own right, the comparison of the two is the best part of the story. They look very different. Of course they look different. Even with the same basic materials and the same subject, Monet and Renoir proved that experience is subjective. We don’t always see things the same way and we certainly don’t always frame things the same way (and by frame I mean think about them or paint pictures of them or write blog posts about them).
Case in point: I wrote a few days ago about the neighborhood burial of a dead robin. My son Ethan wrote on his blog about the same incident. After much prompting (okay, nagging… intense nagging) he finished that post today. I’m not sure we even experienced the same event. Mine clearly comes from the voice of a mother (and one who loves to process things). Ethan’s, well, you need to read for yourself. It blew me away. Now you’ll be able to see who has the REAL talent in the family.