Becoming Monet: Continuously Evolve Your Art
“In order to learn to draw, you must learn to see”. These words took my attention when I recently read a book about painting. That is how I learned that an object hasn’t a single color, but an infinity of shades. Rendering reality as it is it’s almost impossible. However, I can say that the artist paints only the reality he sees.
Monet began to make associations between reality, nature and painting, following the guidance he received from Eugene Boudin, with whom he began to paint outdoors. After meeting with the artist, Monet wrote: “Boudin, with a tireless kindness, began to guidance me. Finally, my eyes opened and I truly understood nature. In the same time, I learned to love her”.
Monet’s words reminded me of Plato’s story. The greek philosopher imagined a cave in which people, who are tied, look towards a wall to the shadows caused by objects paraded before a fire behind the prisoners. The shadows are seen by people as being the only reality. One of the prisoners managed to escape and goes outside the cave. He contemplates the sun and the surrounding nature. He comes back in the cave to tell the other prisoners what is the actual reality. Nobody believes him. Fortunately, the “reality” drawn by a painter is admired by fans of beauty, even if it is not the true embodiment of the object that stands in front of the artist.
Every artist, at the beginning of his career, has a person who helps him gain maturity in his work. He is the person who will help him define his manner of painting, the person from whom he will learn techniques and tricks that enhance his own ideas. The young artist should add his own vision and experiences to the master’s ideas, tips and tricks to become unique.
For Monet, Boudin was the one who paved the way to an artistic career and the same who made the world aware of the artist Claude Monet. Because of his master, young Monet decided to become a professional artist, painting in direct contact with the reality of nature. The first painting by Monet, where he signed Monet O. 58, is a landscape near the village Rouelles with the water flowing along. The young artists’ passion once opened it could not be taken away even by the painters’ father. In those times artists were not seen kindly, so Monet was left without any financial support from his family, except for an aunt.
The vision of reality will enrich along his life. Called to military service, he goes to Africa, where he fell in love with light and color. While some artists choose to spread darkness, shadows on canvas, Monet prefers the sun and shades that render nature. A man has a lot of stops along the way, in which he has the opportunity to change all or just to improve his vision. Africa was for Monet another stop, where he could see nature in a new light: “My view on things has improved. At first, I didn’t realize that. The impressions of light and color formed there only later revealed, but already sprouted in me a desire for future searches,” wrote the young artist.
If in Africa, Monet looked at nature alone, when he came back, he met the dutch men Johann Barthold Jongkind, who explained to him the practice and motivation of his work, thus complementing the guidance of Boudin. “Since then, he became my true master, whom I owe my views final education,” Monet described the meeting with Jongkind.
Landscapes will define Monet’s work. The most representative paintings are the 250 variations of the famed Water Lilies, painted in the last twenty years of his life. The artist Claude Monet is the one who also informed the world about France’s natural wealth.
Over the years, Monet took the ideas of painters he met along the way, such as Jongkind and Boudin, and combined them with his own unique style and footprint. Monet was able to adapt and borrow his art from his surrounding molding his art into what it is so well known for today.
Therefore, if you consider those next to you as being masters, regardless of their age or training, take the time to open your mind, and listen to what they have to say. You will find out that you become a richer artists just by listening to others.