Here's the commission I'm working on. This is just a preliminary, maybe an hour's work. It's not on the final surface yet, I'm just trying to get a feel of what will give me trouble...
I'm sorry that my blog has been so thin on the ground this week. It's just been a busy week around here.
I have been reading some more of House on Monet. I've been reading the chapter on "Pictorial Composition and Choice of Viewpoint." I'd like to tell you something fascinating, but honestly, I don't think I really understood what he was saying. He did talk about Japanese prints and the similarity between many of Monet's works and contemporary Japanese prints. House thinks that Monet was more inspired by nature than the prints. He thinks that Monet looked at a scene and it just made sense to him to do it as it had been done in prints, not that Monet was deliberately trying to do something as it would have been done in a Japanese print of the time. He also thinks that the works of Monet that closely resemble prints are accidental rather than intentional. For instance there are prints that Monet owned that are very similar to paintings he did. House thinks that possibly Monet bought the prints later because they resembled something he had done, rather Monet taking a print, finding something nearby that resembled it and painting it in the same composition.
Hard to say what the truth really is...I don't agree that it would detract from Monet if he had deliberately taken ideas from Japanese prints. He still did his works in his own style. Today to mimic a composition from someone else would be considered a mark of respect. And personally, I don't think respecting the work of others, or learning from them, makes you less of a master. Monet was an excellent artist, even if every idea he used wasn't completely his own.