For example, he would paint landscapes outdoors rather than in the studio
which was the practice of the day. He studied and documented how sunlight
changed the look of objects from early morning, throughout the afternoon,
and into the evening. Monet also used a loose brushstroke that looked
up close, but when viewed further away formed part of a realistic picture.
We discussed Monet's happy life-painting on a boat while floating down
the river, marrying his model and having a family. Later in life he moved
into a larger home where he sculpted the land using ponds, bridges, trees
and multitudes of colorful flowers to create his own vision.
His gorgeous sense of light and color has never grown tiresome even as
the world around has dramatically changed. His paintings capture a br ie
fly glimpsed moment of eternal beauty and serenity.
For this lesson, the age-old artists' technique of copying a masterpiece
is used to draw the contour or outline of the buildings. His painting,
The House of Parliament, Sunset, has contrasting light and dark areas which
create strong triangular and rectangular shapes. Placement and size were
two other considerations to think about as the buildings were being drawn
on white tag board.
Students were asked to recall the colors of a sunset. We compared our list
of colors to the colors Monet chose for his sky. Questions such as where
is the lightest part of the sky, brightest, etc., helped students to scan
the painting and to mentally organize how they might paint their sky and
its reflection on the water.
Capturing a sunset in watercolor wash yielded a delightful variety of skies
and reflections. By brushing on lots of water and adding a small amount
of color, students kept a loose, free feeling. A reminder to begin with
the lightest color first helped the paints stay clearer longer.
In the last session, oil pastel completed the painting. We again referred
to Monet's Parliament to see the colors in his shadows. I modeled how to
apply vertical strokes of several colors inside the outline of the buildings
to create a similar shadowy effect. The reflection of the buildings could
be applied in short, side-to-side or horizontal strokes since the waves
in the river created horizontal movement. The boatman was the final touch
of darker color necessary for the center of interest.
Claude Monet left an impression upon the students along with staff and
parents. Just as he is one of the Western world's favorite artists, these
young students consider their Impressionistic paintings as some of their
favorite works of art-Viva la Monet!