When I first arrived in Giverny, I started thinking about ways that I can differentiate my paintings from the iconic views that Monet painted. The last thing I want is to do any Monet-style copycat pictures; I want to do something unique and decided that one way to achieve that is by changing my viewpoint to get a variety of perspectives.
With that in mind, I've been developing this new Japanese bridge painting. The idea came from a sketch that I did as more of a panorama view. I eventually decided to do an oil study, but from the other side of the bridge and with less of a perspective angle. I liked the study and decided that it will work as a larger painting.
I did the underdrawing on the final canvas today so that I can begin painting tomorrow morning (with weather cooperating). I don't always do such an elaborate underdrawing, but this bridge has a very specific shape and I need to get the curvature correct before begin the painting. I feel like an architect or designer when I do work like this and it's a change since my process is usually more spontaneous.
It's hard to tell from the photo, but the final canvas is fairly large and will take some time to finish. Wish me luck!
Here's a quick photo and sketch update! It's been warm here, but slightly cooler today so I did a bunch of sketching in the garden. I've really been enjoying these sketches and it's great just to pick a spot to sit and work. I also feel like my skills are improving a lot because of the fact that I'm sketching so much.
This group of photos is from my evening stroll tonight. The photos look good, but I feel like my sketches and paintings always do a better job of capturing the moment.
I've also been having a lot of breakthroughs with my own art and the way I think about my painting. I know now more than ever that my goal with painting is about capturing specific moments, feelings and memories; this doesn't always relate directly to the representation of a setting or subject matter because I really strive to go beyond the surface appearances. It can be frustrating because there's no formula and my only guideline is to just be present in the moment as much as possible. The journey continues..
Beautiful morning here so Jan and I walked to Vernon for the Saturday market. Between Giverny and Vernon is great scenery so it makes the walk very pleasant. Walking along and crossing over the Seine is also always quite a sight as well.
The market was everything that I hoped it would be and there was such a wonderful sense of community. It's really a shame that we don't have more of these things where I live back home. The fruits, vegetables, meat, fish and other items are mostly local and there are signs that say where they're harvested from. We got some really amazing strawberries that taste like candy, fresh cherries, tomatoes, melon, etc. I plan to go back as often as I can on either Wednesday or Saturday.
Before and after the market, we had a rest at a local cafe with great coffee and some croissant and pain au chocolat (which I incorrectly called a "chocolate croissant"--the crescent shape is what makes something a crescent). I sketched at the cafe and then we headed back along the Seine.
I'll be going out painting in a bit to make the most of my Saturday. I can't believe I've only been here for one week!
Beautiful sites between Giverny and Vernon
Fresh produce from the market
Tomorrow will be the end of my first week in Giverny so I decided to share the work that I've done so far. I've never felt so artistically satisfied in my life and I'm proud of the work that I'm doing. I've also been having a lot of realizations and it's given me a lot of confidence as an artist.
I've settled into a nice routine of getting up at 6:30, eating breakfast, entering the gardens at 7 to paint for 2 hours; I break for lunch to rest and do some sketching and maybe a watercolor in the afternoon. In the evening, after dinner, I paint again since the sun sets around 9:30/10.
Painting has been great, but I've also been drawing a lot. My sketchbook is acting like a visual journal for what I see around me. In the future, I know that I will really treasure these sketches and the memories they depict.
My next step is to plan some larger and more ambitious works. I'll need to do some sketches and maybe a color study in preparation. And I really want to do some portraits also! My motto: Carpe diem, quam minimum credula postero.