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monet-red boats in argenteuil

October 7, 2014


Claude Monet is Painting in the Garden~A Short Film

I’m not performing miracles, I’m using up and wasting a lot of paint… Monet

An article written by Claude Monet{translation}
In 1900, Monet has become famous. On the occasion of an exhibition in Paris a journalist, Thiébault-Sisson, made him tell his life. On November 26, 1900 the newspaper “Le Temps” published this autobiography in which Monet builds himself his legend. The text is spicy but doesn’t always reflect reality faithfully … {click title to read}

The Path Among the Irises ~ Claude Monet

The Path Among the Irises ~ Claude Monet

Impressionist art
is based on the use of color, which has to “draw” the motive without resorting to line. At the beginning of his career, Monet used dark colors, marked by black shades.

From 1860 on, Monet abandoned dark colors and worked from a palette limited to pure light colors. In 1905, answering a question about his colors,
Monet wrote :

“As for the colors I use, what’s so interesting about that ? I don’t think one could paint better or more brightly with another palette. The most important thing is to know how to use the colors. Their choice is a matter of habit. In short, I use white lead, cadmium yellow, vermilion, madder, cobalt blue, chrome green. That’s all.”

The Issue of Black

Pure black is rarely used by the impressionist painters. Monet obtained an appearence of black by combining several colors : blues, greens and reds. Almost completely he eliminated black from his painting, even in the shadows. In Red Boats in Argenteuil, shadows are purple.

monet-red boats in argenteuil

Red Boats in Argenteuil ~ Claude Monet

Avoiding black was so deeply anchored in Monet’s style that when he died, his friend Georges Clemenceau would not stand the black sheet covering the coffin. He exclaimed :

“No! No black for Monet!”

He replaced it with a flowered material.

clemenceau and monet

Georges Clemenceau & Claude Monet

 In this wonderful old film, we see
French impressionist painter Claude Monet (1840-1926), painting ‘en plein air’, in his garden at Giverny.

I’ve spent so long on some paintings that I no longer know what to think of them and I am definitely getting harder to please; nothing satisfies me…Monet


Claude Monet

Colors seen by an ill eye

In 1908, aged 68, Monet was affected by cataracts in both eyes. He began to lose sight. The first signs of this can be found in the paintings he made in Venice in 1908.

monet-Austria(vienna paintings)


Cataracts cause a progressive opacity of the crystalline lens in the eye that filter colors.  As cataracts develop, whites become yellow, greens become yellow-green and reds, oranges. Blues and purples are replaced by reds and yellows. Details fade out, shapes blur and become hazy.

Though his vision altered, Monet went on working. He knew what color he used by the labels and the unvarying order he set them on the palette. He wrote ~

“My bad sight means that I see everything through a mist. Even so it is beautiful and that’s what I would like to show.”

In 1911,
Monet sadly wrote to a friend :

“Three days ago, I realized with terror that I didn’t see anymore with my right eye.”

His left eye gradually lost acuity and by the summer of 1922, he was almost blind. Nevertheless, his friend, Georges Clemenceau, convinced him to undergo surgery.  In 1923, he could see again with his right eye, wearing special green glasses. But his vision was still altered thus he refused to undergo surgery for the left eye.

The House seen from the Roses Garden
shows the effects of the operation. In this series, Monet painted with his left eye affected by cataracts.

Everything is red, the sky is yellow ~ or with the operated eye ~ everything is blue.

Claude Monet, The House seen from the Roses Garden, 1922-1924

Claude Monet, The House seen from the Roses Garden, 1922-1924

Claude Monet, The House seen from the Roses Garden, 1922-1924

Claude Monet, The House seen from the Roses Garden, 1922-1924

 “ I see blue, I don’t see red anymore, nor yellow; this bothers me terribly because I know that these colors exist, because I know that there is red, yellow, a special green, a particular purple on my palette; I don’t see them anymore as I used to see them in the past, however I remember very well how it was like.” ~Monet

Japanese Footbridge and Waterlilies, 1899-monet

Japanese Footbridge and Waterlilies, 1899

Monet-Japanese Footbridge 1922

Japanese Footbridge, 1922

In spite of his handicap, Claude Monet continued to paint until 1926, a few months before he died.

Based upon The Colors of Monet.

Art, Photography and Text compiled and written by L’Adelaide, ©CountryWomanPaints. All rights reserved.

16 thoughts on “Claude Monet is Painting in the Garden~A Short Film

  1. So interesting. I love tales of the masters. How heroic and how his painting was his life. Thanks for sharing. Have a wonderful day. Gretchen

  2. He is one of my favorite painters . Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute to him.

  3. This is the second time around for this beautifully written post. I love Monet – his joy and profound sadness at times comes through in his art as a celebration of life itself. Oh, how grateful I am that we have artists in our world. I have been reading Joseph Campbell this past month. He said, “Myth must be kept alive. The people who can keep it alive are the artists of one kind or another.”

    Thank you!

  4. My all time favorite, thanks for the great post.

  5. Linda always nice to turned up unexpected in your orchard and watch the rain the grapes and your smile. Listen to the sad stroy of Monet but live the work he created and the inspiration he gave us all. Good to see you after some time to watch your colours and learn about the masters, please take care and keep smiling 🙂 xXx

  6. An amazing story and a very hopeful one. I still remember how stunned I was as the immensity of his Giverny canvases the first time I walked into the gallery in Paris. I returned several times just to sit and contemplate them. I knew back then I’d likely never return.

    Thanks for the wonderful presentation, my friend.

    • i can only imagine…. i know they are immense and likely, i too will not ever see them in reality. but i don’t really need to, i can imagine… his ego and talent were as big as those canvases, methinks. 😉

      hoping your weekend was lovely.

  7. I confess that I know nothing but the bare minimum about the great master artists. Learning of the blindness, how that effected the ability to see and use colour and how his works changed as a result….all new and fascinating to me. What perseverance he had, and with what great love he painted. Amazing….just amazing….

    • so glad you felt enlightened by this…. i was too. he was extremely egotistical based on what i do know of him but a fascinating artist to study on all levels regardless. i think his works, which are very very big, btw, are amazing. i hope someday to get to see one in person…. some are 6′ and more. can you imagine? yep, amazing…. 😉

  8. Holy cow….now there’s another thing I had no clue about. Can you imagine a six foot tall painting and how much PAINT that took….whoa….

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