While I am very excited to be learning about Monet this month, and I couldn't wait to get started researching, I could wait to get started on the art. You see, I'm intimidated by Monet. This is probably because our preferred subject matters differ, our mediums differ, and well, he's just so good! So, I decided to start with something less than a full Monet piece.
Above you see a copy of the tree in the Women in the Garden, 1866 piece. It was rejected by the 1867 Salon. I have not included the women for now, I'm just trying to understand how he painted such a great tree.
As I was beginning this, Wendy Prior suggested that I try doing this as a grisaille, to better understand the values. So, I've done a black/white/gray version on the back of my drafting film (the top image). The second image is how that looks on the front of the film where I will put in the colors. The idea here is to get a hold of the values before I get distracted with the colors and forget all about the values.
The eagle-eyed among you are ready to point out that I don't have any dark darks in there. (Hey, at least I recognize it this time! :-) That's only because I am a little afraid of going totally hard-core black on the back, because I am not sure how the colors will go on the front side. Last night I went to bed crushed that I had just gone way too dark all over the place and wasted a bunch of time. This morning, I'm still not entirely sure that I haven't just gone and made a mess, but I'm going to go ahead and try the colors on the front now. I can always flip it over and rework or erase what isn't working. This isn't going to be a finished piece, this is technique practice and exploration.
- the paint might give the impression of being slapped on, but alot of thought went into those slaps.
- Monet was very careful to have darks and lights near each other - to force the tree trunk forward.
- This tree is massed in with values very carefully. He creates the tree, trees behind it, and bushes around it in a consistent space. (Most of which you don't see above.)
- In the original there are four women around the tree. In that respect, I do see a minor flaw with this. The women share space, but I think it is clear that the same woman posed for all four ladies (Camille, his mistress and later wife). The figures don't quite "join up" or look like they are in the same space at the same time. But, it is a great painting of Monet's, in my opinion.