Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Born of the Winter Light and Monet's Haystacks

Born of the Winter Light
Jan Blencowe
About This Painting:
Media:
acrylic

Size: 10 in X 8 in (25.4 cm X 20.3 cm)

Luminosity and fading light are occupying my thoughts as we move through the shortest days of the year on our way to the winter solstice. The colors in this one are more impressionist, including blues, purples, yellows and a rich burnt orange, rather than an earthy tonalist palette. The techniques are still the same with lots of layering, glazing and scumbling to create diffused light and atmosphere. The winter colors, remind me of Monet's haystack painting below



Meule, Degel, Soleil Couchant
Claude Monet 

Asked in 1905 what colors he used, Monet said: "The point is to know how to use the colors, the choice of which is, when all's said and done, a matter of habit. Anyway, I use flake white, cadmium yellow, vermilion, deep madder, cobalt blue, emerald green, and that's all."
Did you know that Monet painted 25 haystack paintings? These 15'-20' haystacks or grainstacks are emblamatic of the Normandy region of France. Monet first considerd them as a subject during a walk. He began thinking he would do just two, one depicting the light effects of a sunny day and another for an overcast day but ended up carting out numerous canvases and supplies in a wheelbarrow and working on whichever painting most nearly matched the days weather and light. The paintings were begun, en plein air, but refined and finished in the studio. Though the subject was mundane the color and light effects of the changing weather and seasons were sublime. The haystacks series was also a financial success. Monet's dealer Durand-Ruel exhibited fifteen of the haystack paintings in May 1891 and all sold within days. 
More about the haystack series here
See an interesting video model of real haystacks in various light conditions here, on the Art Institute of Chicago education page.



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