How to Paint Like Monet
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What techniques did Monet use in his paintings?
Claude Monet is probably the most beloved of all the Impressionist painters, and he was certainly the most influential. His paintings that attempt to capture the fleeting effects of sunlight at different times of the day and in various settings still captivate almost 100 years after his death. Indeed, in our age of visual overload, the freshness of Monet's worldview is even more striking.
What is impressionism?
Impressionism appeared in France around 1870, when a group of painters worked together freely, trying to capture their fleeting impressions of a scene, or the emotions that a scene created in them.
They painted in a new way, in a style that was neither very finished nor realistic, and their subjects were neither classical nor historical. At the time, it was a dramatic departure from convention and painters were ridiculed by critics and society.
What painting techniques did Monet use?
The fundamental painting technique of Impressionism is that of broken color, which is believed to produce the actual sensation of light in a painting. Monet worked primarily in oil painting, but he also used pastels and kept a sketchbook. He used a fairly limited range of colors in his paintings, banishing browns and earthy colors from his palette. By 1886, black had also disappeared.
When asked in 1905 about the colors he used, Monet replied: "It is a question of how to use the colors, the choice of which is, in the end, a matter of habit."
Create your own Monet painting
Order a color palette like Monet's, then select one of your favorite paintings of him or a subject that inspires, and get yourself some paint. Remember, Monet has developed his skills and technique over the decades, so don't be discouraged if Monet's first painting of him doesn't turn out exactly like yours. Get inspired by it and treat it like the first in a series.
Where to see Monet's paintings
Most major museums in the United States and Europe have a Monet or three in their collection, which can generally be viewed online, such as MoMA, The Met, and Tate. The Marmottan Museum in Paris has the largest collection in the world, thanks to donations from Monet Michel's son and Victorine Donop de Monchy, daughter of Georges de Bellio, Monet's friend and his doctor. Unfortunately, very little of this museum's collection can be viewed online, but if you ever make it to Paris, it's worth a visit.
Recommended books on Monet
- "The Unknown Catalog of Monet's Exhibition: Pastels and Drawings" by James A. Ganz and Richard Kendall. If you admire Monet's paintings and want to know more about his working methods, how he learned to paint, how he developed as an artist, what role drawing and sketch played in his painting, then reading is a must.
- "Paint Like Monet" by James Heard. This is an easy-to-read book that will allow you to research your paintings to try and paint your own Monet while learning a lot about this important impressionist, his work, and his life. It's not written in a stuffy art history style, nor are the paintings so flawlessly reproduced that you'll be too intimidated to try it yourself.
- "Crazy Charm: Claude Monet and the Water Lily Painting" by Ross King. If you want to get an idea of the Parisian art scene that Monet was trying to break into, read this double biography of the lives of the painters Meissonier and Manet.
Enjoy The Video Tutorial about Paint Like Monet: A Beginner's Guide
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