Image accessed 4 December, 2017
What is it?
An oil painting, “Les Nymphéas” 1914-1926 by Claude Monet
How was this painting done?
This painting was done in an Impressionist technique using the “Alla Prima” style and with a chisel shaped brush. Monet painted the work all in one go, he did not wait for the paint to dry. Monet used the “Le Petit Tache” method whereby the paint was not mixed on the palette. The artist dabbed different colours on the canvas. The colours blended with each other when looked at from a distance. It could be described as the “optical mixing of colour” and in this case, Monet has used ultramarine blue, lemon yellow, burnt sienna, cadmium red and titanium white.
This style was perfectly suited for Monet to literally shift the shimmers of his garden at Giverny.
Why should we care?
Impressionism was a real revolution in painting changing more in two decades than many artistic movements did in two centuries.
In 1872, in the French port city of Le Havre, 32-year-old Claude Monet made a painting that would give an art movement its name. Monet called his painting “Impression, Sunrise”. And an art movement was created.
The Impressionists broke all the formal academic rules — they used quick brush strokes, changed perspective and made their shadows out of colour, not black. Most of all the impressionists sought to capture light and most paintings, if not all, were done En plein air. Scenes of ordinary life and glimpses of unpainted canvas were also characteristic of the Impressionist style. All this was helped by the invention of tube paints, square brushes and portable easels making it easier to paint out of doors.
Monet sometimes painted ten canvases of the same subject at the same time just to capture the subject in different light throughout the day.
Where can I find other paintings like it?
You will see typical subject matter, quick brush strokes, colourful shadows and glimpses of bare canvas as in French Impressionism in these examples.
“Le Boulevard Montmarte at Night”, 1897 by Camille Pissarro
“Mount Sainte-Victoire view from Lauves”,
1904-6, by Paul Cezanne
“In a French Garden”, 1873 by Frederick Childe Hassam
Meditate, relax and enjoy
There can be no mistakes in making this painting. Everything ends up as it should be. Take the luxury of “time out”, have fun and recreate this fabulous painting in acrylics yourself, here’s how:
You will need
- a small canvas, 30cm x 40cm is a good size
- tubes of primary acrylic colours, blue, red and yellow plus white
- soft nylon paint brushes, (small, medium and a little larger)
- water in an old container
- a rag or disposable cloth
- an hour or two but don’t be concerned if completing the painting over two days.
Tips on the Process
- prime the canvas first, otherwise, just a wash and dry with a towel
- print the photo you want to work from, measure and cut into quarters to make your drawing in a grid
- paint in the background first
- draw your painting with a small brush using a watery blend of blue.
- everything is easily painted over with acrylics
- The painting will not look great at the initial stages, stay with it for a pleasant surprise
- try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
- layering colours on top of others using the scumbling technique creates magic
- acrylics dry darker than the mixed colour
The Drawing Process
It is easy to copy from my drawing below using a fine brush.
Otherwise, you could ask your copy shop to print the PDF below onto a canvas and proceed to make your own unique painting. Otherwise, you can print the copy on to good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.
Go ahead! Save yourself money by painting your own amazing pieces for your home. You and your friends will be amazed at what you have achieved!
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