The Artist’s Garden at Vétheuil by Claude Monet: Session 3

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{progress at lunch time}

This is my second day of really tackling the lush sunflowers that make up the middleground of this composition. And just as last week, it took me forever to get into the mindset that is required to paint this area accurately, while also maintaining the gesture and vitality this painting is full of.

This week I was even more prepared for the challenge, but it still did not make it any easier. So whenever I feel like I am barely treading water, I narrow down my focus and only work within a very narrow area, sometimes just a few inches at a time. This is what I did, and I choose to focus on placing some of the “landmark” sunflowers first and spreading out from them to neighboring areas. 20140327 monet-garden-03

{progress at the beginning of the day}

Monet painted in an alla prima method, where everything is painted directly, wet-into-wet, and just like the masters of old, he built his layers up. The first layer would be “rubbed in” {my terminology} typically in a color that heightened the visual vibrations of the planned for upper layers of paint. Then the subsequent layers would be laid on top of this wet underpainting, and depending on the pressure exerted, the under layer of paint would meld and mix with the upper layers, thus affecting the color purity of the upper layers. Which is masterful, because that would affect the color and value of whatever was being painted, thus affecting the visual affect of atmospheric perspective, and light and shade.

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{progress at lunch time}

Oh, it is amazing how many decisions can be made with just a single brushstroke!

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{progress at the end of the day}

I know Monet painted quickly, and now after three weeks of close observation of this painting I also realize he had remarkable accurate eye-hand coordination. I swear that in many areas, where he laid down daubs of color {the uppermost paint layer} he was probably not even looking at the canvas, but instead was looking at the actual sunflowers themselves.

So this skill of connecting my eye-hand coordination with greater effectiveness is something I am focusing most of my efforts on while working on this copy. And I am hopeful it will spread into my own work.

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{progress at the end of the day}

I painted to the very end of my allowed time, so when I was breaking down my spot, I forgot to snap a photo of the end of day status in the gallery, so here it is before it gets put away in the copyist's closet... The coming session is going to be fun as I am moving into new territory, different vegetation and the steps and foreground.