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Posts Tagged ‘Claude Monet’

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When I began art making in in 2006, I entertained a short period of thinking each rendering had to be of a different subject.  But I quickly realized how silly that was, having had some exposure to art history in college.  Didn’t Monet do a lot of haystacks?  And lilies?

And how about Degas with his ballerinas?  Winslow Homer at sea?  Not to mention (but I will) Georgia O’Keeffe with her massive flowers and striking New Mexico scenes.  Not that I am placing myself on a level with the above, but rather to simply say it is good to paint favorite subjects again and again.  Each work will differ from its predecessor, and there is infinite variety possible via palette, season, details, mood, and the list goes on.  Again and again.

I like to do waterfalls, ships in peril (I don’t want to BE on one, just to paint it), trees waving in the wind, adobe structures, gardens, bowls of fruit—and pots, pitchers, bottles, and jars often in the setting of a windowsill.  There is something about the bones of structure, even in the evanescent ideas I like to present.

At the top of the page you see what is one of my very first attempts at watercolor.  In a book, I’d found a repro of a painting by Fine Artist Jeanne Dobie, where she portrayed bottles in a window not by painting the bottles themselves but rather through showing the liquid color contents of the bottles surrounded by white paper representing light.  Pretty leaky bottles (mine—Jeanne’s were stunning).  But that was 2006 and it was what it was.

The next one down is a quick colored pencil sketch through the window of a rented condo in Santa Fe NM, where we spent a wonderful Easter week with our son, Karl, and his family in 2008.  The NM scene is followed by three more window bits with stuff in the windows, then followed by an albeit primitive and super child-like rendering of Milwaukee’s South Side as viewed through a lobby window at St Luke’s Hospital where my husband was undergoing cardiac care.  That painting, as odd as it is, is close to my heart because of the stressful time it represents in our family.  Painting IS therapeutic!

The domes of Milwaukee’s South Side, historically Polish and Serbian, are followed by a 2013 window scene—getting just a little bit more presentable.  Then comes a 2016 scene which I like a lot.  The print doesn’t do the painting justice, as in real life the colors and shine are noteworthy—and so is the real life size, which is 20″ x 24″.  I like wet, blurry effect, which was achieved with Gum Arabic.  (I tend to get that name mixed up with what I put in my gluten-free baking:  Xanthum Gum.  I hope I don’t get the gums mixed up in the cookies!))

One more of blurry bottles.  I like the frayed and fringy effect in the yellow/purple on the right side—produced by wet color introduced alongside another, slightly drying paint.  This works best on wet paper, and I love it even though it drives some watercolorists crazy.

And finally, the 12″ x 16″ pictured below is my very latest studio creation.  The wood on the window was textured by dropping Winsor & Newton Texture Medium onto the wet paint with a pipette or medicine dropper—one more tool of the trade available with acrylic ink bottles, or from your local pharmacist.

Since I will probably go on doing window scenes, along with Peril at Sea, etc., I am covering the latest in this series with one name, “Dans la Fenêtre”—because I am besotted with the FRENCH LANGUAGE (in which my proficiency is nearly zero on a scale from one to ten.  🙂

Margaret L. Been — March 18, 2018

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I love music, and the music I favor varies with my mood.  Some days are just right for Pavaratti, Yo-Yo Ma, or most any Philharmonic.  On other occasions my ethnic roots surface, and only Celtic will do. 

Drums and skirling pipes stir me to a point where I visualize my Campbell of Argyl ancestors pacing and piping with that characteristic dignity and reserve known to few outside the Scottish Highlands.  I’m so enamored with the pipes, that I’ve prematurely (I think, anyway) procured a piper to play “Amazing Grace” for my going-home celebration. 

We have a sizable library of Irish CDs.  A thoughtful mindset calls for poignant ballads, best rendered via harp.  We have several harpists on discs.  The ambience of harp music has a way of transporting the listener to another world.

Rollicking, high energy days call for the Chieftans, the Irish Rovers, or the Clancy Brothers.  Their ballads include accounts of pubs, pretty wenches, that famous Irish anesthesia—whiskey, travelers bound for “Cali – forn – I – aye” (in search of gold, no doubt), and lovers wandering hand in hand beside rivers and green woods. 

Recently I was making art in the evening.  I decided I wanted to paint autumn, because that’s where we are at the moment.  I tried to focus on red, gold, and orange—with a little terra cotta and burgundy thrown in—attempting to capture the brightest autumn imaginable, vibrant with sugar maples.  But for some reason, my brush kept making forays into the greens on the palette—or sometimes into yellows and blues.  My masterpiece in process kept jumping out of season—recalling summer.

Why did this happen?  It dawned on me that a melody and lyrics had been rolling in my head all day, and the music continued to roll as I painted.  I’d played the Clancy Brothers that morning, to provide a peppy background and beat for a day of spinning some gorgeous wool roving into yarn.  Consequently my mind kept echoing:  “He whistled and he sang till the green woods rang, and he won the heart of a lady.”

The result of such a brainwashing simply had to be green woods!  And here it is, on that amazing YUPO® paper.  🙂

Fine artist Barbara Nechis warns against “self-plagiarism”—in other words, painting the same scene or object over and over.  I’ve wondered if I am doing that with my plethora of trees, rocks, and rivers.  But I paint what I love, and I’m in good company.  Claude Monet certainly repeated himself with water lilies and haystacks.

Obviously, as Nechis points out, the solution for painting in series is to vary each rendering so that one is saying something new about the subject with each work:  using different colors and shapes, and striving for a diversified mood with each painting. 

There is no reason why trees have to be grey/black/brownish.  They can be purple, pink, or blue.  Leaves don’t have to be green in summer and red/yellow/gold in autumn.  They can be lavender or black.  I’ve painted fiery red waters (the Shenendoah River actually is red), green and burgundy skies, and every available color of rock. 

If only children, from 2 years old to 90, could realize that we are FREE when we pick up a paintbrush!  If we are truly free in our art making, we can constantly repeat ourselves with impunity!  🙂

Margaret L. Been, ©2012

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I wonder if there ever could be a more widely known and beloved painter than Monet!  Throughout the ages and centuries of Western Civilization art, some of the Renaissance masterpieces comprise what we could term the highest art—due to their richness, representation of genius, complexity, the variety of surfaces on which they were painted, and the Biblical themes they depict.  But when it comes to a universal love for paintings that we can live with, I believe the artist of choice would be Claude Monet.

Considered the “father” of Impressionism, that 19th century movement which revolutionized the art community in Paris and throughout Europe and America, Monet differed radically from some of his also famous contemporaries such as Manet, Renoir, and Degas in that—as he developed—Monet concentrated mainly on landscapes, water, and gardens while his fellow artists painted social gatherings at Parisian cafés, ballerinas, and nudes.

In his early years Monet traveled and painted around France, particularly to areas bordering the sea.  He evacuated for a brief period to London, during the Franco-Prussian war, and London became his favorite European city—perhaps partly due to the ever changing nuances of light and fog on the River Thames. 

In variance with his gregarious artist friends, Monet was a solitude-loving family man.  He is most widely remembered for his home and the gardens which he created at Giverny, about forty miles northwest of Paris, where he lived for forty some years.  The gardens deteriorated over the decades after Monet’s death in 1926, but since the late 1970s they have been restored to their former glory.  Monet was a master gardener who loved every inch of his turf as well as the ponds and Japanese foot bridge which he designed.  His plantings were conceived and arranged with his palette in mind, and he has left gardeners and art lovers a treasure of tranquil beauty.  

How many homes, perhaps some without even realizing it, contain traces of this artist/genius who helped to move the art mentality from a penchant for rigid, detailed reality to the more illusive and painterly qualities of color analysis and intricacy?  Below, you will find my tribute to a painter whom I love, an umbrella with a Monet print hanging from our living room ceiling—to the puzzlement of the little folks who visit here; they have never seen such unusual interior decorating in any other home. ↓ 

I love Monet for his Impressionistic mark, and even more for later pioneering the subsequent phases of art history—Post Impressionism and the beginnings of Abstract Expressionism.  Unlike some later Abstract painters who had an agenda (either political, social, or personal) to shock or debunk, Monet produced work that was life affirming.  He painted the scenes around his home and land, over and over—recording the times of day and changing seasons in haystacks, surrounding fields, and the famous ponds and gardens of Giverny.

Margaret L. Been

Note:  I am adding to my “Simply Art” page—trying to remember to add something at least once a week.  Today’s addition is my very latest watercolor on Yupo paper, titled “Country Roads”.  Now is the time of year when those roads beckon us and lead us into months of wonderful surprises and advenures!

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