I think I paint pretty quickly, but I’m sure I’ve got nothing on the Impressionists. Claude Monet did a series of paintings of the Rouen Cathedral, each painting attempting to capture a different moment in time – each painting of the exact same angle, capturing a different light from the sun. He would sit there at, say, 5 AM to paint super quickly before the light changed. Then again at 7 AM the next day, and Noon later that day, and at dusk, and on and on. So much effort to paint a building. To capture a moment.
I have no idea how he did this, as I struggled to imitate his process with a camera my senior year.
While my art history education was lacking for some time, I always knew I liked Claude Monet.
Claude Monet – Impressionist Extaordinaire
There’s something about the impressionists’ artworks that just speak to me. The quickness, the color, the short brushstrokes. Before I even knew the difference between an impressionist and expressionism I knew I liked the way the impressionists painted.
To me, Claude Monet is the quintessential impressionist painter. His focus on color and the fleetingness of moments really speaks to me. Plus, he was one of the first to do it.
I love that he wanted to not only paint specific moments, to commemorate them, but he also wanted to put his stamp on the moment, to express his impression of each moment.
That’s what I hope to do, in a more abstract way. While I don’t paint cathedrals or ponds or haystacks I do focus on my personal interpretation of the things around me. Usually expressed in color, these interpretations are meant to evoke emotions.
Maybe Claude Monet and the impressionists weren’t as focused on the emotion part, but maybe they were. There’s a reason they painted so quickly, there’s a reason they painted seemingly trivial subjects, there’s a reason they worked in certain colors.
I don’t know all of those reasons, but I’d like to think it has something to do with communicating a message.
Am I out to lunch or does my impression of impressionism make sense? (See what I did there?!) Let me know what you think in the comments.