Take one look at Ashley Joon’s exquisite floral murals and they will probably remind you of another painter: Claude Monet. That’s because the Denver-based artist often draws inspiration from the French Impressionist’s paintings. To complement Claude Monet: The Truth of Nature, which opened on October 20 at the Denver Art Museum, and to celebrate the artist’s 179th birthday, Joon collaborated with the DAM to produce a contemporary mural that bears resemblance to Monet’s infamous water lily paintings.
“I have always been inspired by Monet’s paintings,” Joon says. “His water lily series especially hits home for me.” Joon harvested her appreciation and inspiration for Monet to create Claudia, a large-scale floral painting that resides on the first floor of the DAM’s Hamilton building.
The 34 year-old painter, who moved to Denver from Tampa seven years ago, has been a professional artist for the last five years. While she moved around a lot as a kid, she felt as though art was her therapy to cope with all the relocating. “I had an attachment to art at a very young age,” she says. Prior to being a full-time artist, she spent several years prior working odd jobs, actively painting, and trying to identify her artistic style. After the success of Joon’s Camille mural for CRUSH Walls (pictured above) this September, Joon reached out to the DAM to see about doing a piece for them, unaware that they already had her in mind for an original work of art. “It was kind of serendipitous that we were both thinking of collaborating,” she says.
Joon spent three days pouring over the wall, using different colors to reimagine some of Monet’s most famous work. “I wanted to challenge myself to use his color palette, which is a lot more colorful than I what typically use,” Joon says. She traditionally sticks with neutral tones for floral backgrounds and browns and blacks for the flower stems. But for Claudia, Joon utilized Monet’s world-famous color palette which includes viridian green, cobalt blue, lead white, cobalt violet, french ultramarine, vermilion, and madder red. “I loved using them…I don’t know why I was limiting myself to be so neutral.”
In addition to the vibrant hues, Joon’s mural exhibits movement much like Monet’s later paintings. Joon spent the third day (November 13) of her creative process at the DAM, painting Claudia before unveiling the finished product on November 14. And she did the whole mural free-hand. “I knew I just wanted to channel his colors, but I work best when I’m painting from my intuition,” she says. “I’ll have a vague idea—maybe I’ll want flowers coming up or down—but once I have that idea I can let the painting evolve on its own.”
While Claudia was commissioned by the DAM, the mural was sponsored by PNC Bank. According to Joon, the DAM will display Joon’s mural for the remainder of the month. This is good news for Joon as Denverites will be able to snap photos in front of her mural while experiencing her unique brush stroke and use of Monet’s brilliant color palette.
If you happen to miss Claudia after she is removed from display in the Hamilton Building, there are plenty of opportunities to see Joon and her work this month. Starting today, Joon is showing original paintings, prints, and selling ornaments at the Art Can, a shipping container used for art exhibitions, sponsored by the Ramble Hotel, 2500 Larimer St. And starting December 6, Joon will be unveiling a new mural, selling art, and doing a live painting at Ironton Distillery, 3636 Chestnut Place.
Editor’s Note: This story previously stated that PNC Bank would take Claudia around the Denver metro area. Instead, the Denver Art Museum will keep the mural for viewing until the end of the month.