To start off this Monet week on Monday Masters, I’m choosing to dive into his seascapes. Claude Monet (14 November 1840 – 5 December 1926) was one of the founders of Impressionism and like so many, this is a style of painting I thoroughly enjoy.
I can stare into a Monet painting for hours, the light and color mesmerizing, creating wonder of the world he was viewing. Claude’s life is chronicled as a history lesson, but this fails to grasp his day to day challenges as a Plein Aire painter.
Years ago I created a “drying rack” on the top of our truck, so my wife could paint a few panels out in the wild opens of Marin County, California. Many don’t realize that it takes months for an oil painting to be dry enough to handle. Claude would walk off into his surroundings with his French Easel, create an inspiring painting and then came the real challenge of walking back with a wet canvas.
As we experienced with our small painted panels, wind was an enemy on these painting days. The dust and debris provided a constant battle to keep from ruining a new piece of art. Many have said Monet purposefully put some of his surroundings in his paintings, like the sand in The Beach at Trouville. While this could be true, speaking from experience, it is much harder to keep things out of a wet painting than it is to plan on adding said “accident” and have it look good. I hope you’re inspired by Claude Monet’s seascapes.