Thursday, March 1, 2012

Claude Monet: Inspiration for thinking outside the box


When I first began looking at photographs in the library, I wanted to research an artist who spent a great deal of time on landscape and nature. When I came across a photograph of a painting of a bridge with flowers and trees, which reminded me of the Duke Gardens. Nonetheless, I remember talking to Professor Fick about my reservations with trees and bushes—with nature. He told me that I did not have to draw an outline of a tree or bush; he said that I should shade in values and create what looks like bushes and trees through shading. When I saw this Water Lily Pond painting by Claude Monet, I began to understand more about what Professor Fick was referring to.

Water Lily Pond, Claude Monet

The bushes, trees, and lilies are not perfectly defined, but it is clear that these are bushes and lilies regardless of their more abstract look. I then began to look into more of Monet’s work and like what I saw. I even did a bit of background information to see what led him to begin to look into landscape work.

Oscar-Claude Monet (1840-1926) is a famous French painter and one of the founders of the Impressionism movement. Claude Monet was born on November 14, 1840 in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. He was the second son of his parents Claude Adolphe Monet and Louise-Justine Aubree. Monet entered the Le Havre secondary school of the arts and became known locally for his charcoal caricatures. He also undertook his first drawing lessons from Jacques-Francois Ochard, a former student of Jacques-Louis David. In late 1856, early 1957, Monet meet fellow artist Eugéne Boudin who became his mentor and taught him to use oil paints. Below are some of Monet’s earlier works in his caricature drawings, from which Boudin saw potential in.

1854 (graphite on paper)

1855 (charcoal and chalk on paper)

1860 (charcoal and chalk on paper)

These caricatures are amazing. He uses different mediums and different ideas. The last one with a head on what seems to be on a bee attracts me because it relates to what we just did in class today. We tried to incorporate placing objects on other objects combining both real landscapes (or for the sake of class still life objects) and objects from photographs. I am also attracted to his shading technique. I still find it quite difficult to properly shade and add color and depth to places, but Monet seems to do this quite well in his charcoal caricatures as a growing artist.

Monet rejected the traditional approach to landscape painting and instead of copying old masters he had been learning from his friends and the nature itself. Monet observed variations of color and light caused by the daily or seasonal changes. I like that he tries to learn from observation and experience, which can be seen through his travels and the inspiration for his impressionalism work.

From 1871 to 1878 Monet lived at Argenteuil, a village near Paris, where he painted some of the most famous works of the Impressionist movement. In 1878 he moved to Vétheuil and in 1883 he settled at Giverny. From 1890 he concentrated on series of pictures in which he painted the same subject at different times of the day in different lights such as Haystacks or Grainstacks (1890-91) and Rouen Cathedral (1891-95). He continued to travel widely, but his attention was focused on the celebrated water-garden he created at Giverny, which served as the theme for the series of paintings on Water-lilies that began in 1899 and grew to dominate his work completely.

From Haystacks series. Oil on Canvas (1890-1891)

His landscape and Impressionism paintings are beautiful and take into account the foreground, background, and mid-ground. I love the richness and color yet creativity and lack of complete structure, which is something that I need to develop and work on.


Works Cited:

"Claude Oscar Monet - The Complete Works." Claude Oscar Monet. Web. 01 Mar. 2012.

"POUL WEBB ART BLOG." : Claude Monet. Web. 01 Mar. 2012.

1 comment:

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