My Year of Monet – Blog

Throughout 2019, I blogged about my study of Claude Monet and its effect on my painting. I have delved into authoritative biographies, his complete catalogue, writings by contemporaries, videos of lectures, academic papers, and Monet’s letters and diaries. I've attended an exhibition on his late years in San Francisco and will be going to Denver for a large retrospective presentation in December. I've also painted numerous pictures influenced by his color palette and subject matter of water lilies and gardens.

This research and all of "My Year of Monet" paintings are discussed in blogs about how to paint Monet-like, similarities in our approaches, frustrations and successes, and why I think he is the greatest painter in history.

Leigh Selfie with Claude

I consider myself a “21st century Impressionist,” because I use modern technology that wasn’t available 100 years ago. Most significant is my use of color photography for source material. I’m strictly an indoor painter.

On the other hand, Monet perpetuated the myth that he only painted plein-air to accurately capture the changing light and atmosphere. In 1897, the journalist Maurice Guillemot reported that Monet worked on fourteen canvases of the Seine from a boat at predawn. He wrote, “an artist painting from nature works only out of doors.” (read more)

Includes insights into the painting of these pictures:

Before I describe my use of his techniques, I'm going to react to last month's $110.7 million sale of Claude Monet's "Meules" (Haystacks). It broke the record for an Impressionist work of art, but I think Monet would have been disappointed that the price wasn't higher! (read more)

There were really two Monet styles loosely delineated around the time of his second wife Alice’s death in 1911. That’s when he began to focus almost exclusively on his gardens and water lilies, which I’ll explore in my next blog piece. But here I’ll mostly describe his earlier techniques and how I use some of them, too.

I did two paintings based on these photos from an earlier trip to Santa Barbara (read more):

I recently attended "Monet: The Late Years" at the de Young Museum in San Francisco, an exhibit of works from the last two decades of Claude Monet's life. After months of reading and then spending a day in the gallery studying canvases, I began a Project with six new pictures of water lilies and gardens using some of his later career techniques.

Read about topics including:
• Two turning points for Monet and me when we were each 43 and 68 years old
• How to look at paintings
• Frustrations and successes (read more):

#4 His Earlier Paintings Influenced Mine

Claude Monet made conscious decisions about the subject matter of his paintings, and my “Year of Monet” led me to revisit my own decision making process. I’m a self-trained painter, which means that instead of taking classes, I studied on my own—talking to painters about their practices, reading books, and trying to figure out how the artwork I liked was created. No one suggested what I should paint. However, in looking back, I was struck by some similarities of my own works to Monet’s that I had never before noticed. My Year of Monet #4: His Earlier Paintings Influenced Mine

#5: Wives and Families

During “My Year of Monet” I’ve learned about more than just his painting techniques. Monet’s personal life intrigued me, his character, how he treated other people, his family life. The more I read, the better I understood him; but, I also, continuously, reflected on the parallels between our lives—just as I have done with our paintings. So, I’ll share a bit more of myself once I’ve told you a little about him. Read more

#6: Lasting Impressions

“My Year of Monet” (MYOM) has ended, but what a year! It not only opened my eyes to his life and works, but also helped me to see my own artistic pursuits in a new light. As I learned about his techniques and applied some of them, I took greater risks toward achieving my goals of confidently working looser and faster. By devoting more time and energy than ever before, I produced more paintings in 2019 than in any pervious year—most of which were given away last November. All-in-all I couldn’t have been happier with the results.

In December, I rewarded myself with a trip to Denver for the exhibition, “Monet: The Truth of Nature,” the largest show of his artwork in the United States in over two decades. In this article, I’ll offer my review of the exhibit and share my newest paintings, inspired by the exhibit and Les Grande Décorations. I’ll also tell you about my big upcoming project and provide a list of resources I used during MYOM. Read more...