Thursday, March 17, 2011

Green is the colour


Green brushstrokes to represent leaves
I love the colour green, especially a bluish green like the azure water in the sun-drenched Carribean Sea.  I love the yellow-green of new leaves and the richness of deep, clear sparkling emerald jewel tones.  Green is a mysterious colour, it can be youthful and spritely like an elf or dark and foreboding like an enchanted forest. It is the colour of life, but can also foretell an unhealthy decay. Green is the colour of peasants and kings, truly a colour for all people!

Here are some of Monet's paintings which use an extra amount of green pigment.

The Green Wave (1866)
Claude Monet grew up in the seaside town of  Le Havre, France. Boats and the sea are a familar subject for his paintings.

Le Pave de Chailly

Monet's first attempt at painting "en plein air" (in the open air).  This was a revolutionary way for a painter to work at the time.  First influenced by a local painter he knew in his hometown of Le Havre named Eugène Boudin, Monet became convinced this was the only way to capture the true essence of the scene.

Camille Doncieux (Lady in Green)
Camille was Monet's model who became his mistress, the mother of his child and later his first wife.  The artists of that period in France must have lived a very avant garde existence to have flouted the rules of polite society in so many ways.  Claude Monet seemed to have truly loved this woman as he did not abandon her when his father refused to accept Camille as his future daughter-in-law.  Since his father was Monet's principal means of support, Claude could not afford to be married until he could sell enough paintings to support a family.  Sometime in 1868, in despair over his poverty, Monet contemplated taking his life. Luckily he was able to find a patron in M. and Mme Gaudibert. Claude and Camille were finally able to be married in 1870.

Green Park (1871)
Camille and Claude Monet took refuge in London, England (1870-71) so Monet could escape being sent to fight in the Franco-Prussian War. Monet had previously served in his county's armed forces.  His friend and fellow painter Frederic Bazille was not so fortunate. He was killed in battle in 1870.  While in England, Monet studied the works of John Constable and William Turner.

Train in the Countryside (ca. 1870)
  I was lucky enough to view this painting at its home in the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

Green Reflections left panel
This is part of a larger work which Monet did in the latter part of his life.  He was always fascinated with the play of light on water and he explored this endlessly in paintings of his water lily pond which he designed and built himself in his garden at Giverny.  This particular series of paintings was created to display in The Musée de l'Orangerie in Paris.

In the Garden
Monet is well known for his love of his garden at Giverny where he made his home from 1883 until his death in 1926.

  Let us not forget the man himself! Here is Claude Monet as portrayed by Richard Armitage looking particularly dapper dressed in green.

Richard Armitage is able to beautifully portray both the sadness and the joy of Claude Monet's life in the BBC biopic "The Impressionists"

"Colour is my day-long obsession, joy and torment." 
Claude Monet
Colours by Donovan 

Have a very green St. Patrick’s Day!


tyme_4_t said...

WOW...that was wonderful. Beautiful escape.
When I think of always comes to mind so it's nice to see so many greens.

And the pic of RA - beautiful!

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

mulubinba said...

Lovely post! I went to a Monet exhibition out here two years ago. It was stunning! I had also watche The Impressionists and thanks to the film, the exhibition experience was made all the more meaningful.

CDoart said...

What a lovely collection of Monet paintings. I love RA playing this character. He changes so much to make the different stages of development of this painter believable.

bccmee said...

I'm slightly colorblind but I love reading the names of the different shades of green. To me, it's all one color. Green is green is green. Beautiful choice of paintings. Fortunately, I can still feel the emotions in the works. :)

Anonymous said...

What a lovely selection of Monet's work! I'm just reading an ernormous great bio/critique of the artist. And will have to watch the DVD for the umpteenth time!


Anonymous said...

though they all agree that that tie is horrid :)

summer said...

Beautiful post! Love the Impressionists, love Monet, he's my second favourite after Renoir!
Richard's performance as Monet was very moving!

Traxy said...

Never been much for art as such, but wow, I'm really starting to like Monet now! :) I mean, regardless of RA. Le Pave de Chailly is almost like a photograph and those waterlilies are stunning! Thanks for posting about Monet's work and educating peasants (so to speak) like me about art and appreciating it. :) You're a star!