Monet always experimented alot. To the point where he painted in a counter-intuitive way like in this pictures of the valley Crueze and Rocky Point:
“I have made tremendous efforts to work in a darker register and express the sinister and tragic quality of the place, given my natural tendency to work in light and pale tones.”
I am slaving away on six paintings a day. I’m giving myself a hard time over it as I haven’t yet managed to capture the colour of this landscape, there are moments when I’m appalled at the colours I’m having to use, I’m afraid what I’m doing is just dreadful and yet I really am understating it; the light is simply terrifying.”
It can not have been easy for Monet to ignore the convictions of the time and paint the paintings the way he wanted to paint them, but Im happy he did because the result is stunning and his way of painting influenced other painters enormously. Even though he influenced many painters noone really managed to rival Monet when it came to water paintings,
These first three paintings are some of the many paintings Monet painted where water plays the central role. He was ofcourse very good at it and this was because he painted the water often and at the same place but with different light just like he did with buildings, haystacks, bridges and water lillies.
“I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot; and that is why I am working on the same motifs over and over again, four or six times even.”
He painted for example the beach on Pourville and views from the beach of Pourville quite often:
He also painted the beach at Trouville and the church at Varengeville:
The reason that Monet painted this beach was that he stayed there when he and Camille were newly-wed in 1870. During the summer of 1870, on the eve of the Franco-Prussian war, Claude Monet was staying in Trouville with his young wife, Camille, whom he had married on 28 June. Like many canvases by Eugène Boudin, who had a strong influence on young Monet, L’Hôtel des roches noires. Trouville depicts a fashionable seaside resort during the Second Empire. The couple didn’t actually stay in this resort themselves. They had to rent a cheaper place at the time, because Monet’s carreer hadn’t take off yet as it would a couple of years after that.
To paint en plein air or in the open air wasn’t always easy. Monet once got in trouble when he was too occupied with his painting when he painted the Cliff d’adal:
“I was hard at work beneath the cliff, well sheltered from the wind … convinced that the tide was drawing out I took no notice of the waves which came and fell a few feet away from me. In short, absorbed as I was, I didn’t see a huge wave coming; it threw me against the cliff and I was tossed about in its wake along with all my materials! … the palette which I had kept a good grip on had been knocked over my face and my beard was covered in blue, yellow etc … the worst of it was that I lost my painting which was very soon broken up along with my easel, bag etc. Impossible to fish anything out.”
At least the end result was really beautiful anyway. No wonder that Monet said himself that he had become obsessed with water and reflections.
He particulary like to paint the Seine. Ofcourse in different seasons, light and times of the day.
Monet was fearless when it came to painting water the way he saw it rather than relying on rules of conventional painting of how to paint water. Not even other impressionists dared to go as far as Monet.
This painting above is for example a painting of the Seine by van Gogh. Its a bit less traditional than really traditional painters of his time but its not at all as radical as Monet. He couldnt bring himself to break all the rules and just paint what he saw rather than paint how he was taught to paint.
Monet felt that it was very important to observe and paint exactly what you saw rather than copying the work of great artists or give in to convictions learned at art academies.
“It’s on the strength of observation and reflection that one finds a way. So we must dig and delve unceasingly.