Making Monet Quickly
I love impressionism, and Monet in particular has such a beautiful way with colour and lighting, and this painting has always really captivated me each time I see it. The way the moment feels so un-posed and spontaneous, the way he paints her back lit hair whipping around her face, it almost feels like we are seeing the wind itself being painted. I love the yellowy bounce light hitting the dress coming off of the bright green and yellow ground, and the little dots of yellow that just bring the field of wildflowers to life.
Woman with a Parasol – Madame Monet and Her Son -Claude Monet 1875- Copy by me, 2022
Doing a master copy is a great way to really start to understand a painting, by making you focus on each part very closely and look at the brushwork, layering, and composition choices. In the past I've done master studies a bit too slowly I think, taking many hours or even days to finish one. For this I tried to paint as fast as I could, trying to get the whole thing done in one quick session. The whole painting took me around 90 minutes and was a ton of fun to do. In order to make it go quickly I did a couple cheats.
The first cheat is I started with a quick pencil trace of the original painting to get the placement of the main elements down. I know i could spend the time copying the composition without tracing and get it pretty close- but the point of this was about the brushstrokes. Second cheat was using the eyedropper tool to sample colours from the original painting. Again I could spend a lot more time trying to find and match the right colours myself, but the goal was speed and to try and recreate the spontaneous, loose feeling of the original painting.
I also am trying to see what I can learn about the techniques the artist uses. In this one I really learned how little blending Monet used, the blending is done by layering many different colours closely together and then they are blended in our eyes, which also gives is that colourful shimmery look. I also noticed how much of the original primed canvas colour was still allowed to showed through. It's that sort of beige-y colour on the left and right of the sky, it seems to me that was the colour the canvas was painted at first.
Here's a sped up time-lapse of the 90 minutes of painting time condensed into 1 minute or so.