Learning From Monet

I spent a little time this evening looking through my book about Claude Monet and studying his paintings. I feel like I learn something new every time I look at them. One of the things I noticed tonight was the size of the canvasses he tended to work on. Many of them leaned toward the larger sizes, and his approach to painting probably made finishing these large art pieces a little easier. This gives me courage to tackle the larger canvasses without worrying about them taking a year to make.

I think it’s fair to say that as a general rule, realistic paintings take longer to create. I really appreciate the painters who are so good at Realism that their paintings look like photos. It is very impressive to me. However, in many cases I have realized that I don’t connect with them as much as I connect with large scale Monet’s.

I like Impressionism a lot. I like being able to stand in front of a large canvas, recognize the forms, but not be distracted by them. I think in some ways, having less realism actually helps you experience the moment even more. You’re forced to rely on how the painting makes you feel rather than the painting simply describing a scene. This experience is what I hope to capture in my own work.

I also appreciate photography, but we all know that looking at photos does not compare to the experience of actually being there. My daughter is in Colorado for a few days visiting a college, and she made a remark regarding how much better it was in person compared to looking at the website. I totally understood what she meant. It’s not like there are enough photos of the Eiffel Tower or Hawaii that could ever take the place of me seeing them in person. However, I feel like a large Impressionist paintings at least capture part of the feeling of being there. Having less detail in a painting compared to a photo forces your imagination to engage instead of just your eyes.

There are a few art fairs going on in Washington again this summer. I am planning on going to several of them to learn more about the artists in our area. I hope to see some amazing work and get some additional inspiration. Also, I am planning to have a few shows of my own in the next few months. I have a lot of work planned that I want to complete before they happen, and one of them is a 60″ x 48″ canvas that stares me in the face each day. I think if I can execute the idea I have in my head, it will draw a large crowd. I just need the courage to get started! It’s a bit intimidating right now since I haven’t even created 20 paintings yet. However, I still believe I can do it! I’ll be posting more information soon!

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