Let me start with a contradictory statement — Nobody can paint like Monet. Monet was the founding father of the impressionist movement in art, and his paintings have an ethereal quality that demonstrate his unparalleled skill and artistic vision. That being said, there is nothing wrong in trying to paint “like” Monet, because the sheer process has a lot to teach. Also it’s worth to mention that I like to emulate the style rather than trying to copy everything to the T, that’s not exciting at all. :)
I used to paint regularly in high school and had tried my hand at oil painting only a couple of times before I took too long a break. During those couple of times, I could recognize how the oil medium affords you a lot more freedom compared to other media. Recently, I decided to go back to it. I got a big canvas, my first easel (super exciting) a bunch of colors, a few brushes, bottles of turpentine, linseed and thinner and a couple of spatulas. Soon I could realize that the right colors and the right brushes make a huge amount of difference. Monet used a lot of violets, blues and many soft variations which are quite hard to define to be honest. The colors that I found to be quite useful in general are: Ultramarine blue, Dioxazine purple, Hooker’s green, Viridian green, Light green, Cadmium yellow, Radiant turquoise, Radiant blue, Naples yellow hue, Venetian red, Sap green, Radiant violet, Ultramarine violet. For brushes, I tried out a few brushes from Jerry’s Artarama. I particularly liked the Isabey Filbert Brushes. The gray scale image on the top-right, does a good job in exposing my brush strokes beneath the final painting.
The colors that I found to be quite useful in general are: Ultramarine blue, Dioxazine purple, Hooker’s green, Viridian green, Light green, Cadmium yellow, Radiant turquoise, Radiant blue, Naples yellow hue, Venetian red, Sap green, Radiant violet, Ultramarine violet.
Below I share a series of pictures that demonstrate how the painting progressed from a blank canvas to becoming the Waterlilies. The photos reveal the numerous layers of paintwork, that usually require different sittings spaced out by a couple of days, thereby allowing the paint to dry.
Having studied Monet’s waterlilies, I could notice a couple of striking features. 1) His brush strokes exude confidence and boldness. They are inexact, quick and masterful. From some of the marks on the paintings, it seems to me that he would often apply colors directly from his color tubes on to the canvas. Given his humongous canvases, that would make sense but I couldn’t try it out on the smaller canvas of mine.
2) In most of his paintings he could create an aura of haziness, sort of an obscure foggy effect that forced the eyes of the viewers to search for the forms underneath and thereby put together the pieces into a comprehensible whole. If someone reading this blog can explain to me how to correctly describe that effect and how to achieve it, please leave a comment.