Now that the Steve Situation is settled. . .
. . . I have freed up the part of my brain that has been obsessed with him for the past many weeks and can now think deep, meaningful thoughts.
But first, let’s paint:
This is a scene from Claude Monet’s garden in Giverny (France). It’s called The Grande Allee, and it’s a long pathway of flowers over which six arches arch, and at the end there’s two huge old Yew trees that frame the front door to Monet’s pink house. Here’s a photo of it that I got off the internets (it shows the allee on a sunny Summer morning, judging by the shadows):
And here are my own reference photos that I took on my most recent 3-day Spring visit to Giverny:
That last photo is more useful when I crop it way small:
I am mashing up my own reference photos with photos of this view that I’ve studied in books about Giverny, reason being that I want to paint a Summer view and all my own ref pix were taken in Spring (no roses). So, here’s another look at the false start I made on getting this Summer view painted:
Those flowers on the right side are awful, but since it took me much agony to work out the perspective of those damn arches (I draw very lightly in pencil, so you can’t see how many times I’ve erased), it filled me with dread to have to draw them all over again so what did I do?
I rescued it:
I painted a new right side on a separate piece of paper, I cut it out, and I placed it over the offending bits. I did not yet glue it into place because I wasn’t sure the rest of the pic would work and I might have to use that rescue bit again, if the rest of the painting went badly. So for the time being, it’s held in place with scotch tape:
Confession: As a rule, I don’t care for yellow flowers. At least, not flowers on stalks. Dandelions are adorable, and I like buttercups, but yellow tulips, and delphiniums, and the verbascum in Monet’s late Summer garden do not appeal to me. (And I really don’t like daffodils.) But I’m really happy with the way I got the yellow to shimmer here. Remember: bleeds will make or break your picture.
The roses on the arch…I don’t know:
Ugh. Red roses. The important thing is to blend in the rescue by painting into it:
If you know me, you know that this is the bit that I LOVE doing, the teeny little detail of Monet’s front steps and open door:
I’m going to be bold with my use of black, which I mix heavily in with green for the Yew trees:
Instead of blue sky in the background, I’m using yellow foliage to bring in the sun, and to balance that glowing bit of yellow on the right side:
I’m going for more drama, with a very very blackish-green again:
I ruled out the edges because, Why paint any more than you have to?
I think I might use this for the cover for my Monet Garden book:
And now I hope to never paint another Monet garden scene again. I started doing watercolor sketches of this garden in 2012, when I thought I might include it in my last book, the one about 9 of the best gardens in the world (Gardens of Awe and Folly):
But it’s too big a garden, and I knew I’d have to make it its own book:
This (below) isn’t mine — it’s by the renowned French landscape painter, Fabrice Moireau:
Just shows you how another artist handled all those yellow flowers. I didn’t do the double arches because it was too hard. But if I change my mind I can still go back and add them in. I know all the tricks when it comes to rescuing a watercolor because I’ve made all the mistakes.
Before we part for another week, I want to take moment to let you know that the world lost an outstanding cat last week. Our Dear Reader Janet had to say good-bye to her girl, Smokey:
Smokey was a heart’s true companion, a peacekeeper in health and a courageous soul in sickness. Shine on, you sweet sunbeam.
Have a great weekend, everyone. May all your rescues be warm and furry, and all your thoughts deep and meaningful. (Since I’ve wrapped up the Steve Situation, I’ve been wondering about the possibilities of personal evolution. How much have you changed since you were 18? I have a story for you next week.)