Goodbye Monet- Eminent Reflection

Eminent this year was every bit as bittersweet as I had thought it would be. I can still remember when I finished Night of the Notables last year and was filled with expectations for myself to do better next year. I wonder if the past me’s expectations were met?

I’d love to say that I’m incredibly proud of myself and am satisfied with the work I’ve done, but as the eternal perfectionist, I see only the flaws in my work. This is one trait which I share with my eminent person– he was never happy with his water lilies and kept holding on to them until his eventual death. Even as I worked on my painting for the Night of the Notables, I was constantly sighing and I thought the flowers looked like simple blobs or that the sea looked like squirming caterpillars. Even as I wrote and rewrote my speech, I kept worrying.

But on the actual night of, as we got more and more pumped up, I began to feel the energy as well. It was our last time doing this– might as well enjoy it, right? But when I got on stage, my breath hitched and I actually mixed up several lines of my speech, and I could feel myself losing my grasp on something that I had already drilled into my mind. But instead of panicking, I continued on and wove the lines I had forgotten earlier back into my speech. But in doing so, my speech lost some of the emotion and sounded more rushed because of how nervous I was. Even though I feel I outdid myself from last year, I know that when I look back on this night, I’ll only think of how I forgot the lines in the middle of my speech and feel regret and shame.

As for my learning center, I think that it was an excellent improvement from last year as well. I probably put in the most hours of our whole class just working on the Garden at Sainte-Andresse. I felt so frustrated at the painting so many times that I wanted to cry. I spent much of the time painting rambling and raving, and generally being very turbulent and mildly aggressive. Thank goodness Celine (she was at Bamfield and came to in-depth last year) was there to help me through all that craziness. When I finally brought it to school, a lot of people were really impressed, and I felt like an artist for once. Being angry, unhappy, and borderline psycho where all things that Monet had also lived through while painting. But besides the painting, my focal point, my learning center had other interesting components as well.

I really wanted to make my center like Monet’s famous garden in Giverny, though I think my rendition fell a little short. I put in flowers but they were obscured by other things. Most people who stopped simply commented on the superb job I had done on my painting. I was really happy, but I felt like something was lacking. Not a lot of people participated in my interactive part as well, which was to try painting the water lilies in Monet’s style. But this is the full (hopefully immersive) tour of my learning center.

I tend to be a pessimist and focus on the negative, but there are several moments where I was so truly happy to be a part of this program. When we were backstage right before our speeches, getting pumped up, and practically yelling, there was a strong sense of community and the bond which ties all of us together. We took the time to encourage and reassure each other, all while getting ourselves hyped and ready to have the best Eminent night ever.

I’m pretty sad to see the project go– the good, the bad, and the ugly. Unlike last year, I can’t say that “I’ll improve next year!” But at the same time, with all that stress, maybe I’m a little glad to see it go… or not. I’ll enjoy Eminent from the alumni side of things next year!

Annotated Biblography

I have plenty of links which I used for Eminent research, but it’s probably best to limit myself. That being said, this is my annotated biblography! Feel free to peruse these resources if you ever find yourself wondering about art history or just curious about Monet.

King, R. (2017, November 18) phone interview

I interviewed the author of Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet’s Water Lilies and learned a lot about Monet’s life and relationships. I would definitely recommend picking up a copy of Mr. King’s book as he provided me with very extensive information on my eminent.

Probably my main resource/inspiration for my speech. The panels he offered to the State are housed in this museum and they inspired the circular layout in other museums as well. This offers good background information on Monet’s feelings towards his Lilies.

I took a cursory glance at Monet’s Wikipedia page as is customary at the beginning of every project. Not the best resource to be used, but definitely one that’s worth looking at at the start of any project if you want good background information.


I also used the information from the Vancouver Art Gallery’s exhibit to get an overview of Monet’s life and some more in-depth information on certain works and periods of his long and illustrious life. The chronology and Giverny section were particularly helpful to me.

I also took a look at what the MoMA had to say about Monet’s water lilies seeing as that was the first place where I had seen them in person. It provides rather minimal information but the installation views are really cool to look at.

I referenced this page as well to learn more about all the Water Lily panels and a few of their names. Being his most famous series there was actually quite a bit of information.

The Monet foundation provides a lot of information on his home in Giverny and his gardens and studio. They work hard year-round to maintain his lovely gardens and estate and shed some light on what his life was like.


Reading up on Impressionism also proves to be helpful, as it shows what were the ideals of that time period. This site is rather brief, but it definitely captures the essence of the period.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art also houses many works of Monet and other Impressionists, and provides an excellent description for what Impressionism is and was like at the time.

This provides an excellent overview of many important points of Monet’s life, from the rejections of his work by the Salon to his life in Giverny and the Water Lily ponds. It’s a quick read but an important one.

Monet’s intro

Claude Monet is an ingenious painter who revolutionized the world of art through Impressionism. Though mocked for his paintings being mere “impressions,” these works of art truly “impressed” me. His father, a grocer, disapproved of his career into art and didn’t support him painting. I believe this is an almost universal problem for artists everywhere—it’s hard to make a living selling paintings.

I was first drawn to Monet when I saw his paintings in the Museum of Modern Art in New York back in March. The vibrant colours of the landscapes and the people within them seemed so cheerful and lighthearted, and the picture he painted of France was that of a beautiful, serene country. Just looking at his art made me think that I wanted to visit France’s countryside.

During the month of August, when many grade 10s were starting to think of Eminent and who to choose, the first person who popped into my mind was Monet. He is undoubtedly eminent; he was a founder of a major art movement. And when I have my mind set on something, I dislike changing it. Despite gender and race barriers, I think that I can relate to many of Monet’s other qualities, such as his fascination with the natural world and colour and his determination to keep painting despite oppression.

The main barrier separating Monet and I is gender. However, I think that other similarities can account for this point. Our mutual interest in art and strong passion for the natural world are what really matters. Our library field trip further enforced this decision; as I flipped through books on Monet I found that he was even more eminent than I originally thought 2 months ago. I realized that common interests can transcend gender.

The main obstacle in my path is not only the harsh competition in the world of art, but also my parents’ reluctance in me pursuing such a career. Even though I can remember drawing and painting as early as the age of 4, not once have my parents voiced their approval at my dream. I don’t think I’ll follow this career path, seeing as there is a certain amount of talent, and possibly even luck, necessary. The real world isn’t so forgiving, either. Those without talent will be ultimately weeded out, and I can’t profess to having great prowess for art, just a strong passion for it.

I want to learn more about Claude Monet’s art and his passion for it, thereby furthering my own knowledge in art. As well, I’m hoping to discover more about the way that I view and create art. This is also one of my IEP goals: to further my passion in art. I can tell that Eminent this year will be bittersweet as it is the tens’ last year, but it will definitely be a lot of fun. It’s also really exciting to enter this project from a new point of view and being able to watch I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s Eminent projects and seeing how I’ll grow from this experience.


Interviews: Michelle’s Misadventures

I was pretty ambitious, and tried to directly contact Mr. Bateman via his commission inquiry email on my first attempt. But what I didn’t know was that his assistant responded the day that I sent the email! Somehow it got lost in my inbox and I only saw it today. I wish I had seen it earlier; she gave me some excellent information! But unfortunately we’ve already finished our speeches. Hopefully I can put some of the information to use in my learning center. This was the email I sent to him.

Dear Mr. Bateman,
I apologize for contacting you via your commission email but I could not find any other means to contact you. My name is Michelle and I am a student in the TALONS program. In our program, we have something called an Eminent Person Study, in which we select a person of our choice and also conduct an interview. I admire your work greatly, and would be truly honoured to conduct a brief interview to ask you a few questions. I would like to know about how and why you decided to become an artist, other career paths you have considered, and what made you who you are as an artist among many other questions. I would really appreciate it if you could respond as soon as possible.
*General gist of email.
Apparently his assistant Kate Brotchie saw the email, and apologized saying that Mr. Bateman was quite well booked so she answered the questions I had left in the email shown above.
He says that all little kids like art and nature but by age 12 they usually move on to other interests. He did not. After school, he’d come home and do art – the family sunroom was his studio in those school days. He was a teacher of geography and art until he was 46 years old and when he realized he had more income from art than teaching, switched to full-time art. He still loves teaching and will be at Robert Bateman Secondary School later this month. If he hadn’t become a painter, he would have considered being a landscape architect; he and his gardens were the subject of one episode of “Recreating Eden”.
He says that members of his generation are the aristocrats of time and place. He was born in 1930 and by the time he hit his mature period in the late 1960’s, people had more disposable income than in earlier times. The apex of his career was likely the sell-out show at the Smithsonian in 1987. His early books sold over a million copies. Now there is a lot more artists and more competition so that sort of success isn’t likely to be repeated.
Besides this, I also interviewed an artist that my mom’s friend knew, Min Ma. This interview had to be conducted in Mandarin via the phone so my mom helped out. I took down some notes on the conversation but of course it wasn’t word for word. Here is a link to that google doc if you want to look at that:
Overall, I did better than I expected since I actually got a response from the email I sent. My biggest regret was not finding the email earlier. Despite the title, I’d call this a success.

gif courtesy of

Annotated Biblography

These are the resources I used during our Eminent person study:

Robert Bateman’s Wikipedia page

I used Wikipedia as the baseline for the project even though it’s frowned upon. Not the most useful resource, but still a good place to start.

Robert Bateman’s website

Obviously, the first place I checked after Wikipedia was Robert Bateman’s website. It’s a little bit outdated, but I did get a lot of information from it seeing as it has several different pages on Bateman, some talking about his awards and achievements and some where he discussed painting. It was probably the most useful resource as well.

Thinking like a Mountain

A small book containing a collection of short writings and a few sketches by Robert Bateman. Some of them are anecdotes from his childhood, others are observations on the natural world and human life. Definitely helpful, as I got to learn about Robert Bateman’s thoughts.

Robert Bateman Birds – Hardcover

I decided to write the first speech draft based loosely around the experiences he described in this book. Other than those short snippets, this was definitely fun to flip through and admire Bateman’s art. It was mostly paintings but there were a few short pieces written by Bateman and some sketches. It was somewhat useful for the first draft of my speech but I ended up scrapping that one anyway.


I looked at the page introducing Robert Bateman. While short, it summed up Bateman quite nicely, talking about his purpose and hopes for future generations. It talked a bit about his Life Sketches tour as well. This was where I got the idea to talk about his message in my speech, so I guess it was slightly useful.

Bateman: New Works

This book, published in 2010, contains an artist’s statement and a short biography on Bateman as well as all the art pieces. Again, mostly art but still has a few short pieces interspersed. It was’t the first book I read, but the “About Robert Bateman” section at the start was pretty helpful.

So this is a website that sells art from world renowned artists. Unsurprisingly, Bateman’s art is on there, and some of his prints were being sold. It has a short description of Bateman and some of his art pieces, so I was using this website to find the titles of pieces I didn’t know the names of. It wasn’t that useful, I just used it for some minor details.




Night of the Notables: Until next year…

Wednesday November 16, I got to experience my first ever Night of the Notables. Honestly, it’s not like anything I’ve ever done in school before. For example, the sheer exhaustion of staying at school for about 14 hours. But at the same time, I’ve never seen anything on this scale. The genuine effort everyone put into their Learning Centers and research on their Eminent people was amazing.

Honestly, the time we had together felt really short. One second, the tens were delivering their fantastic speeches and the next an announcement over the speaker was telling us we only had ten minutes left. I got to meet a lot of cool people while everyone was looking at our learning centers. In fact, one person told me that they were best friends with Robert Bateman’s son when they lived in Ontario. Mrs. Quach, the jumpstART teacher, also chatted with me for a few minutes. I was glad to see that a lot of the people I met knew my Eminent person.

As memorable a night this was, a few moments really stuck out to me. Besides the tens speeches, and that amazing bow at the end, I remember a lot about the people I met at my learning center. Besides meeting someone who personally knew Robert Bateman, I remember the alumni coming, drilling me on questions which I answered to the best of my ability and complimenting my art. I was nervous at first, but as more and more people came, I was more confident and talked longer with each person.

I’d like to thank Phia, Deon, Maeve and Renee for being in the “artists corner” with me. Also thanks to Phia for bringing in the easel and Deon for bringing in the dollar store acrylics. It was really fun being around others with Eminent people in a similar field and it worked out pretty well. Thank you to all of the teachers for making the whole thing possible; without you guys we would have been terribly lost.

static image of my learning center taken with Deon's phone

images of my learning center taken with Deon’s phone


link to my learning center in action (exceeded upload size): https://r4—,expire,id,ip,ipbits,itag,lmt,mime,mm,mn,ms,mv,nh,pl,requiressl,sc,source&signature=1B6270DBF17BAEB21DB37509310A5AD10005BE4B.3B10D2E91D19F6CCDA0F214765D20C46FAE91F21&key=cms1&redirect_counter=1&cm2rm=sn-nx5e77s&req_id=ff79f477876a3ee&cms_redirect=yes&mm=34&mn=sn-vgqskn7l&ms=ltu&mt=1479699050&mv=m&nh=IgpwcjAxLnNlYTAzKgkxMjcuMC4wLjE

Sorry for all the backgroud noise; you probably can’t tell what I was trying to say. But basically I was just going through my learning center. I feel like this was a fun learning center to do because I got to draw a lot, which was technically one of my IEP goals; furthering my interest in art. I actually started painting a Bateman piece, not exatly as followup, but just because I like painting. I guess I met my goal in that sense, but I feel like I could’ve worked more on the presentation of my learning center. I focused more on all the technical aspects, such as filming the time-lapsed video of me drawing a bi

I’m not that happy with how I did on the speech either, but I have an entire year to improve on my public speaking skills and do better next year. Overall, I met most of my goals and this was really fun! Now I know what to expect so I’ll probably spend the summer working on it.

door close gif courtesy of


Michelle’s Misadventures: Opus edition

Opus opened in Coquitlam just recently, so I decided to pay the art store a little visit on Monday. Although Phia and Deon couldn’t make it today, I was glad that I got to go.

what I bought at opus :)

Unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get any pictures at Opus because I don’t have a camera. But I got what I was looking for: the Staedtler drawing pencils! I haven’t properly had a set of drawing pencils before, so I’m excited to draw a few more sketches. You probably can’t tell from the picture but that is a 0.3 mechanical pencil. It cost a pretty penny, but it was totally worth it.

The gel pens are for gold and silver accessories. I really like the Gelly Roll gel pens because they’re super smooth and look excellent with Copic markers. Speaking of Copic markers, I was disappointed to find there wasn’t any at Opus. Wait, I’ve lost most people already. This is the Copic Sketch.

image courtesy of

Yep, the marker you always dreamed of. You can probably see why I was disappointed that there wasn’t any there. But the other stuff definitely made up for it. There were some really nice Pilot pens and I almost impulse-bought a few. But they were $4 so I had to refrain.

I also got a smaller sketchbook for drawings in the field as well as small sketches at home. Funnily enough, I have a field set of Sakura Koi watercolour but all my watercolour paper is too large for it.

image courtesy of Media Lukis (my personal set’s a mess)

While I was waiting for my mom to pick Celine and I up, we did a quick sketch of the lamppost in the small sketchbook.

the drawing we did (collaboration)

Afterwards, I did several other sketches that will be on display at my learning center. All in all, I feel like that was a really fun day and I got what I was looking for (except the copic).

door close gif courtesy of

Nice Day in Vancouver: Library Research Trip

I’m finally blogging about our trip to the MacLeod’s bookstore and Vancouver Public Library Trip we had last Friday! It was a really fun experience and I am so glad that I got to go.

Initially, I mostly considered getting books and research done but as the trip approached and I still hadn’t done my intro post, I thought that it would be a great way to get some inspiration. I had tried several times and failed to make a satisfactory intro post, but after the trip I had a general idea of where I wanted to take my project. After considering all research related aspects of the trip, I realized it would be a great bonding experience for me and my fellow TALONS.

First of all, I was blown away by how large the library was. I had no idea where to start so Deon and I had to search the catalog to find a place to start. After that, we still couldn’t find our books so we had to ask someone for assistance. When we finally got our books, there was  hardly 20 minutes left so I had to thumb through my books really fast and jot down some notes. I had looked into Bateman before but I felt that looking into his books gave me a better sense of who he was.

image credits to Deon and her awesome phone

image credits to Deon and her awesome phone

For me, the theme of the trip would probably be, “pay attention to one’s immediate surroundings.” A lot of the time, we’re all very absorbed and wrapped up in the  world of social media, and that’s fine and all but we often don’t notice the things around us and take things for granted. This trip was really inspiring and actually a good amount of my speech is based off of the notes I took from the books I borrowed. I didn’t expect them to be so informative despite being mostly pictures.

I’m glad that we’re doing this project because it ties into my IEP goal about furthering my interest in art perfectly. In fact, there’s a quote by the German poet Goethe that sums this up:

“He who cannot draw on three thousand years is living from hand to mouth”

In other words, if I was relying only on my very limited knowledge of the art world, I would be in a very sad state. However, through our eminent person study I am able to learn about Bateman and art throughout the ages. I didn’t really understand wildlife art at the beginning of the project and didn’t even know that it got a bad rap.

Anyway, I’ll wrap this post up with a few pictures that capture the trip perfectly.

image credits to aileen (she caught us)

image credits to Aileen (she caught us)

image credits to Deon and her Huawei phone

image credits to Deon and her Huawei phone

(seriously, Deon's camera is awesome)

(seriously, Deon’s camera is awesome)



Introducing Robert Bateman

For those of you not in the know, Robert Bateman is a Canadian painter who paints incredibly lifelike scenes. He was born in southern Ontario, but now he lives in B.C., in the Gulf Islands. In fact, I went to Salt Spring Island before I knew about Bateman. I got to know about him a few years ago via a friend who is a talented artist.

image courtesy of

Bateman lived in semirural Ontario, and surprisingly a chickadee was what started him on his path as a birder when he was just eight years old. He had always thought that “a chickadee was more or less like a house sparrow, but this tiny bird’s white cheeks, black cap, and upside down gymnastics gave it away immediately- and the agile climber charmed the cold right out of the afternoon.” Pretty soon he would spend hours looking for birds in the tangled ravine behind his parent’s house, stalking his prey. It was terribly frustrating, however, because he had no decent bird book to rely on to help identify what he had seen. Salvation arrived on his twelfth birthday when his mother gave him Roger Tory Peterson’s Field Guide to the Birds.

Surprisingly, I can really relate to how Bateman must have felt. I cannot claim to be as avid a birder as he, but I remember several occasions where I was watching the birds in my backyard or looking for them in the front yard. Art and nature were his twin passions since his childhood, and I feel like this was particularly relevant to myself because I cannot remember a time when I was not into art. I don’t remember how or why I got into it, but I do remember all the messily done drawings I did ever since I was a child. Bateman began drawing and painting at an early age as well.

I was drawn to choosing Robert Bateman first by his art. At the beginning of it all, I don’t think I knew very much about him, just that he really liked wildlife and painting. His paintings are wonderful, incredibly lifelike and also relevant. I did a bit of research before I finalized my decision, and I thought that what he did was awesome. I remember learning about the rainforest, poaching, and many environmental issues and wishing that I could do something, that I could help in some way. So when I saw Bateman using his art to communicate these important messages I felt really impressed by his work.

Bateman also taught geography and art at the high school level until he realized that he could make a living from his painting. Although he was reluctant to give up his teaching, he knew that other people would be able to fill his shoes as a teacher whereas nobody could paint his paintings for him. I feel like this a viable career path, even for me, because I’ve always thought that being a teacher would be an interesting job. Besides, making a living from just your art is often terribly difficult, which is why I think being a teacher would also help.

However, I know that being famous is usually just a pipe dream. To be able to achieve eminence like Bateman’s would be no small feat. I feel like the only way to overcome this obstacle is to practice furiously and soak up all the information I can. Via this study, I may be able to gain some insight and develop my own style more.

I think the main barriers between Bateman and myself is gender and race. Bateman is a white male and I am an Asian female, so that means things are already unfairly in his favour rather than my own. But I have decided that where I cannot relate to Bateman, I will instead look to other female artists that are Asian to see if their experiences can help me out.

Through this study, I hope to learn how Bateman got to achieve such eminence and what impact he’s had overall on our world. I would also like to briefly look into different art styles of different time periods and how that might affect an artist’s career. I guess that ties into what I want to learn, which is finding my own style or finding the most suitable style for myself, since there are still many unexplored regions of art for me. It’s also linked to my IEP, in which I discussed my interest in art and perhaps furthering it. Overall, I hope to learn a lot about Bateman and myself through this study!