My rendition of Monet’s Vase of Flowers, c. 1881-82
I have a new appreciation for painters of the Impressionistic style. To better understand Impressionism, I chose to try to reproduce one of my favorite paintings by Monet. It’s a vase of flowers and we saw it in an exhibit at the Yale Museum of Art when we visited there back in the mid-90’s. Even though I used a smaller canvas (mine is a 12 in. square), and acrylic pigments (not oils), I researched the colors he used and prepared my palette with: Viridian, Permanent Green, Scarlett, Alizarin Crimson, Cadmium Yellow, Titanium White, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue.
Brush strokes were the biggest challenge for me. I tried to imagine what it would be like to be painting en plein air, capturing the light and shadows. The Impressionists’ painting style conveys an effortless technique. But I found it exhausting to try to achieve that look! The complexity of shapes and colors required an intensity I rarely experience when I am painting with watercolor.
Reflecting on this experience, I realize that I responded to the way Monet brought the garden “inside” and captured the shimmering light and rhythm of composition so characteristic of his poetic and expressive landscapes.