A Monet Moment

Monet Springtime

A restful intermission from the busyness of life, a time to eliminate stress by viewing the beautiful, blended colors of one of the most beloved painters to come from the Impressionist movement. 

Respite in the Garden of Giverny

There is something restful, but at the same time alive with the color and feeling of a summer’s day in many of these paintings. Perhaps because so many of them were of gardens, flowers, and the beauty of such sunny blue skies, and so this lens is dedicated to taking a few moments to stop and peer into the paintings of Claude Monet while listening to background sounds and thinking a bit about his painting and life.

Enjoy yourself here, pour yourself a glass of lemonade or a cup of tea and think light and cheerful thoughts as inspired by the colors and brushstrokes of Impressionism at its most blithe.

Monet's garden at Vétheuil
Monet’s garden at Vétheuil

The Allure Of His Art

The Inspiration for the Monet Moment

I wanted to take a tour of this Master’s paintings because I think they produce a serenity in the viewer. A moment’s respite while looking at his paintings produces a visual calming, similar to the way some sounds and music de-stress us.

For me, I think it is partially in his palette, the way this painter layered his colors, partly in the technique of the brushstrokes that create the dreamy effect, and partly because of the subject matter that the overall feeling is one of quiet and repose. Of course, I have my favorites, but almost any of his works have a peaceful appeal.

If I would pick my own personal favorites they would center within the water garden. I like the water lily paintings especially, perhaps for the same reason I like macro floral photographs. The larger than life look into the forms of the petals creates an almost abstract arrangement. The blues and greens predominate, and it is well known that those cool hues are restful and calming in effect.

It isn’t that I don’t like sharp edges or bright colors, I do! In a jarring modern age when the mind is so overwhelmed with so much stimulation, I find it necessary to tone things down and relax with these soothing paintings. I put the lens together in the hope that it has that effect for you, my visitor, too.

A Garden Is Art

Nowhere is that more evident than in this place in Giverny, So much of the masterstrokes were rooted inside this particular place, although there are certainly many other venues that Claude Monet made famous with his works. In celebration of his garden I have taken a look at the flowers that made up the subject matter of the garden at Giverny.

Of Special Interest To Gardeners

monet garden

Planting Plans and Color Harmonies

Book cover
Book cover
The Magic of Monet’s Garden: His Planting Plans and Color Harmonies

For anyone who loves cottage gardens, this famous artist/gardener’s plans will be a priceless inspiration.

“Gardening was something I learned in my youth. I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers” – Claude Monet

 

  • Flowers of Giverny, Flowers that Monet Grew
    Monet’s Giverny is one of the most famous cottage gardens filled with scenes created by the Master. Here are his flowers, so you can make your own masterpiece garden.

Passion – Coffee Table Book for those with a passion

Monet's Passion
Monet’s Passion
Monet’s Passion: Ideas, Inspiration, and Insights from the Painter’s Gardens

A gorgeous art book for those who love gardens and love Monet. Lasting inspirations from photos alive with the beautiful colors and design genius of a master- both on canvas and in the garden.

Why He Planted His Famous Garden

“Monet started to create his flower-filled garden when he moved to Giverny in 1883, refining it over 43 years. He originally planted flowers so that he could pick bunches to have something to paint indoors on rainy days.”-The Guardian

The Much Painted Water Garden

The water garden, and the famous blue-green Japanese style bridge are among the most famous scenes in the artist’s garden. He painted them numerous times and they are among the most loved of his scenes. The colors are always restful and dreamy.

There are many other colors that appear in his paintings of his gardens, of course, and Monet planted his garden specifically for certain harmonies and to provide inspiration for his art.

The Japanese Bridge Over His Famous Waterlily Pond

monet japanese bridge

En Plein Air

means “in the open air”. Outdoor painting was favored by French Impressionist painters.

Book cover
Book cover
Monet’s Garden: Through the Seasons at Giverny

Seasonal borders in one of the world’s famous gardens. This is a book to pore over in winter and create spring and summer plans for your own flower color combinations.

Dreams of Color Made Visible On Canvas

The dreamy quality of a painting

One of the reasons we find for Monet’s venerable popularity rests in the dreamy and restful feeling he gives his paintings, but with such inner movement so that the viewer is never bored. Much like the beautiful quality of dreams, both those of a daydream on a summer day or the dreamlike state of a drowsy evening.

The blurred effect coupled with the subject matter, and the harmonious colors create calm. Contrast that with some of his fellow Impressionists, like Cézanne or Renoir.

Through His Eyes

Failing Vision

“The Artist’s Garden at Argenteuil”

The Effects Of His Eyesight

Many famous artists suffered from eyesight problems, Monet’s were well-known. By analyzing the depictions of the scenes and the tints of the colors, modern scientists can diagnose some of the issues of his poor eyesight and how that affected the way he painted.

Livescience.com discusses the effect of his sight loss on his painting:

During his lifetime it was known he suffered from cataracts.

As cataracts develop details fade out and shapes blur, white yellows, greens become yellow-green and reds are perceived as oranges. Blues and purples become replaced by reds and yellows.

Monet, for whose work fine variations in color were a hallmark, often expressed his frustration to friends and family as his vision failed between 1912 and 1922.

“He wrote letters to friends, how colors were getting dull, and it was hard to tell them apart, and how he had to label tubes of paint,” Marmor said. “He was very vocal about how his failing eyesight was affecting him.”

Argenteuil

Argenteuil
Claude Monet (Dusk in Venice) Art Poster Print – 24×36 Art Poster Print by Claude Monet, 36×24

An example of how the artists failing eye sight changed the tonal effects of his paintings.

Giverny

Garden at Giverny

 

When the artist was at his height creatively and where his happiness fairly saturates his canvases.

Dusk in Venice
Monet felt Venice was a city “too beautiful to be painted”

Dreamlike Color

monetHis fuzzy view of the world gives his paintings the dreamlike quality and results in a calming melange of color for the viewer.

As for the the opinion of the researcher into the results of this sight loss:

“I think it does not say that the paintings are good or bad or answer to the question as to how much they were trying to change their style,” Marmor said. “But I think it points out very dramatically some physical limitations that they had, which both limited their ability to paint, to put paint on canvas directly, but also to interpret what they were putting on a canvas-they couldn’t really judge what they were seeing.”

 

Inspiring Other Artists

He can inspire you just as these artists were inspired

Monet was not the only one to paint his garden- his living artistry in creating a garden inspired other painters, as well.

book coverMonet’s Garden

If you are in love with Monet’s Garden, yet another source for inspiration and reflection on his plantings and paintings

monet spring
‘Giverny Garden’ c.1890 Philip Leslie Hale – American Impressionist Painter – 1865 – 1931

Summer, Giverny
Summer, Giverny’ 1910 Clark was an American Painter – 1876 – 1949

He was an artist who inspired his generation and those following it to look at nature a whole new way, paint in “plein air”, and, unwittingly perhaps, turn a handicap like poor eyesight into an artistic asset.

Morning on the Seine, Near Giverny, 1896

morning on the seine

These Colors In Your Home

home colors
Monet’s Colors In Your Home

Taking interior decor colors from one of your favorite paintings is like the reverse of finding paintings to match the room. With many of the color picker apps available, this is a cinch to accomplish.

One of my favorite sites for creating a color board from favorite pictures is Colourlovers.com.

From creating some color boards, whether online or off, the design for a room’s color coordination is a step away. A very important component of your interiors is completed.

Waterlily Paintings

waterlilies
Water Lilies of the Orangerie as Giverny

Morning on the Seine near Giverny

m-seine

I believe one of my favorites is “Morning On The Seine”, perhaps because of the way the picture is divided between the blues and greens in a way that almost looks like fractals or the way a kaleidoscope breaks colors.

The Boat at Giverny (Or) the Norwegians, the Three Daughters of Mme. Hoschede

The Boat at Giverny

Home Decor Color Schemes

 

m-home2

The Palette

At the beginning of his career Monet used dark colors, but from 1860 on, Monet shunned dark colors and worked from a palette of pure and pale hues.

If you look carefully, what appears black is almost never really black. It might be purple or a mix of colors, but not ivory black.

He said of this:

“As for the colors I use, what’s so interesting about that ? I don’t think one could paint better or more brightly with another palette. The most important thing is to know how to use the colors. Their choice is a matter of habit. In short, I use white lead, cadmium yellow, vermilion, madder, cobalt blue, chrome green. That’s all.”

The Real Monet – Painting his famous waterlilies

Meadow in Giverny

Do you have a favorite Monet painting?

 

Enjoying Grandma Moses

I was updating an article I made about Grandma Moses and came across an old video made of the actual Grandma Moses! She is portrayed the way America wanted to see her at the time with the life she represented (i.e. much idealized), but what a treat to see actual footage of her, with her animals, painting, and even going through her old family photographs with the audience.

We have more cynical eyes than when this film was made, but it shows us an American icon, and probably helps explain a bit why Americans were so hungry for one in those years following the great world war. It is a fun look at her paintings, and at the person who created them.

She was very agreeable to be filmed, and likely looked at it as a good marketing strategy, as she was quite a canny woman. I love her for the same reason she became so popular at the time. Her old fashioned clothes and hairdo, her ability to catch earlier times on her canvas… all with a certain affection and optimism that is even rarer now than at the time of her greatest popularity.

Take about a half an hour and enjoy the show. If you still have time take a few minutes to read my analyses of why she happened to become so successful (with a few takeaways for us today).

 


Grandma Moses’ Secret Recipe For Success

 

 

Cards
Framed Painting

She is one of my heroes. I greatly admire her (very real) Yankee Ingenuity.
As an aside… when I was about 12 years old I entered a contest with a Grandma Moses-like painting and won. My prizes? I was able to have my painting exhibited at the local Art Museum in columbus Ohio, received a book about Moses’ paintings and life, and a real set of artists paints in a metal box.

It was quite a windfall for me at the time.

 

my story

Beach Scene Art, For A Seascape Afternoon

Art That Captivates: Beach Scenes

Van Gogh. ArtistFor some of us the beach is the ultimate vacation. For almost anyone, a view of the sea with its sunny beaches and the sunlight glinting off the water are scenes that hold us enraptured; both by the majesty of the powerful waves, and the serenity of the shore. Whether in storm or in sunshine, there is something captivating about looking out over the seashore.

Artists are always trying to capture that feeling in their two dimensions. When gazing on beach scenes of painter’s talent or photographers eye… it is a time when we seem to grow more centered and the happy memories of visits to the shore wash into our minds like soft waves on the coastal sands.

The sea and sky are always changing and offer many hues and harmonies of color and subject. It makes for an interesting pictorial gallery.

Peruse this little gallery of beach scenes and ocean views, quotes and inspirations.

Happy Seashore Scenes – Beaches, and water are gentle and calming to the soul

“Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.”

– Loren Eiseley

 

So that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again… Virginia Woolf

 

Dreamer by Lucelle Raad
Dreamer by Lucelle Raad

The contemporary artist Lucelle Raad is a native of England who took up residence in South Africa, where she studied painting under Dorothy Shaw. She has relocated to the USA, and presently lives in Florida. Lucelle Raad paints children exclusively at this time, “I find unending satisfaction in combining my artistic interest in the figure with my emotional interest in children. There is more expression in an offhand gesture by a small child, than in all the posturings of our adult world.”

Waterboy by  Lucelle Raad

My room was in one of those turrets and at night I could hear the sea and the faint rustle of eelgrass in the soft wind. The weather was perfect that summer. No storms. Blue skies and just the right amount of wind every day. The sailors were in heaven. ~Katherine Hall Page

Sunday Best

 

Don’t grow up too quickly, lest you forget how much you love the beach.

~Michelle Held

Oblivious

 

 

“To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” – Rachel Carson

Miami Beach
By Jeff Greenburg

 

I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought. ~Helen Keller

The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea.~ Isak Dinesen

 

 

 

 

There are great paintings of beautiful beaches from all over the world, but some people like the satisfaction of sitting at their own easel with paints of their choice and recording a favorite beach scene from a vacation or of a familiar haunt …whether on the coast of a rocky beach or the expanse of sand and surf line. If you are one of those artists (or artist in the making), take time to get out your brushes and paints, and capture those memories.

 

 

Cycling
Van Gogh’s Sailboats on the Shore

I own this print and it never ceases to give me joy to view Van Gogh’s vision of the French sailboats, the lines, and colors have a liveliness while the overall feeling is one of calm, enjoying a sunwashed day by the sea.

I like the colorful fisherman’s boats beached ashore and the fleet of boats a-sail in the distance.

 

Claude Monet

 

Jesse Wilcox Smith

Jesse Wilcox Smith is one of the most popular for decorating children’s rooms. This seashore scene illustrates the fact that we are often braver when helping someone else be brave.

The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free!

Bryan W. Procter

Art Gardener

These paintings struck me as distinctly garden oriented. Something like fifties sitcom meets millennial gardening. Do you garden in heels and pearls?

 

Pink
the work of Kelly Reemtsen

I enjoy looking at art, and while I am attracted to more of nature’s subjects, this one holds a fascination with its throwback to the fifties (when I grew up). We would never run around doing house chores in dress and pearls today! But at one time it was considered quite normal.

The picture was seen on Scoutie Girl, a blog with plenty of ideas and inspiration.

In another of her posts, she highlights the artist, Siiso. It shows that taking cues from nature can be lightheartedly abstract and fill a room with feeling. When I look at these works I just feel, and it frees you from having to work at thinking so much. Then it invites you into the canvas to think about it if you wish- with detail and texture.

art by Siiso

Thanks to Scoutie Girl for giving her insights and collecting a number of posts that present artists, both lesser known and well known.

My Favorite Painting

This is my favorite picture for many reasons. One is the stillness, another is the work ethic, the quiet content of daily mundane work.

clipped from www.nytimes.com

“The Milkmaid,” an oil by Vermeer from the 17th century, is headed for an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Organized to honor the 400th anniversary of Henry Hudson’s historic voyage to New York from Amsterdam, the show, Sept. 10 through Nov. 29, will focus on old masters who, like Vermeer, were active in the period of exploration, trade and artistic flowering that occurred during the Dutch Golden Age in the 17th century.

  blog it