Woman with a Parasol by Claude Monet
Copied at the National Gallery of Art by Maria Bennett Hock
Work in Progress
I continue to paint and learn and learn and paint. As I arrived at the National Gallery of Art on Wednesday I noticed the crowds seemed to be quite thin...I anticipated fewer interruptions and more work done!
Today's work entailed tackling the grassy hillside...again. It has been a challenge. Monet's palette is getting to be more familiar...I am getting comfortable mixing the colors and adapting to his style a bit. After working most of the morning on the greens I decided to work on the clouds a bit. I first had to darken the lady's dress and brighten the sky around it...get the values correct before I could tackle to brightness of the clouds.
If I were to choose the most difficult part of painting this piece it would be to try to match the spontaneity of the brush strokes. It is said that Monet completed this piece in one setting so I imagine him moving furiously through the piece placing brushstrokes carefully but quickly. To reproduce that same spontaneous feel is a challenge.
When I want to get an idea of how I am doing I pull out my cell phone and look at my copy next to the real thing through my viewfinder. It shows me values and shapes. I have to step back to see everything...and that is when the tourists get me!!! I can stay pretty focused at my easel but when I step back I get asked questions, get comments etc BUT ...the topper was today. A young man asked me how to oil paint. I told him to get some paints and just start...take lessons...just dive in. He kept pressing me for what colors to purchase (the three primary colors, white and black to start), what to paint on, (boards, canvas paper, whatever you can get to start) and how I learned (practice, practice, practice). It look me a while to skirt around him and get back to my easel! Ah the hazards of the amazing experience of painting at the National Gallery of Art! I need to pinch myself to make sure this is not a dream!