Sunday, August 22, 2010

Art Sunday - Practice, Practice, Practice

There is an old joke about how you get to Carnegie Hall, famous performance center in New York. The punch line is practice, practice, practice. The same can be said about the visual arts. Claude Monet, for instance, painted the facade of the Rouen Cathedral 31 times.

"I know that to paint the sea really well, you need to look at it every hour of every day in the same place so that you can understand its way in that particular spot and that is why I am working on the same motifs over and over again, four or six times even." Claude Monet

Don't worry, I am not going to post all 31 but just Google Images for Monet's Rouen paintings and gape at the variety of them. Then there are his waterlilies and and his hay stacks. And we have just those he didn't paint over or toss in the canal in frustration.

I think of Monet and his cathedral when I again choose to paint Park Avenue at Arches again. Or try again to get that magical feeling I knew when I stood before a particular mission church in New Mexico.  All "so that you can understand its way". I play with colors and will do a painting over in different colors seeking something elusive at times. Monet played with light.

One theory bantered about as a reason for the impressionists movement was the advent of the camera. It could record Rouen Cathedral or those waterlilies precisely in black and white at the time. But it was a rather "lifeless" medium - or lightless. Monet was painting the light on the facade of the cathedral. And some of his attempts got close to pure light.

As an artist I have to wonder if he was ever satisfied with his paintings of light and if not which of the 31 attempts of Rouen he liked the most.


  1. A good question. Probably not, or else he would have stopped painting it and gone on to something else, don't you think?

  2. I'm glad that you posted this...very encouraging!! I've recently started to do several study paintings of my sketches so that I can explore how different lighting and colors affect the desertscapes. I'm really liking the process so far and all that I've been learning from it.


I appreciate all kind comments on my art and poetry.