This is Monet’s “Apple Trees in Blossom by the Water”, painted in 1880.
1. What’s the focal point?
2. Where’s the water mentioned in the painting’s title?
Turn page 90 of Monet: The Seine and The Sea 1878–1883 by Michael Clarke and Richard Thomson, where it’s explained that:
“Such is the density of the surface activity that the painting has no conventional focus or compositional base. … This is a canvas about touch, texture and colour…”
The trunk does leads your eye up into the branches, but then it takes it off the top. There’s so much going on with the leaves and shadows it’s hard to make out any single bit but simultaneously inviting you to get lost in it all. Paintings don’t have to have a traditional focal point, positioned according the Golden Mean, with a composition leading the viewer’s eye towards it. It’s your choice.
The water in the painting is supposedly implied by the sense of a tree growing on a bank. (It’s thought it’s one of the paintings Monet did from a river boat .) I’m not sure I’d think about it if it weren’t in the painting’s title. Would you?
Mostly I find myself wondering how Monet didn’t get fedup with all those shades of brown from burnt umber to beige, and whether in real life the painting has more yellows and green visible. What would your third question be?