Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Gardens in Art continues - with Monet

Couleurs de Septembre
16.5" x 14.5", Pastel on Rembrandt pastel board (NFS)

copyright Katherine Tyrrell

My Gardens in Art Project will continue into September as I've not even started on Monet yet and he's one of my painting heroes. The pastel painting above was done as a result of my visit to Giverny in September some years ago. It seemed appropriate to revisit Monet and Giverny this September. I also need to do another couple of posts about Arts and Crafts Gardens which I'm hoping I can do this week after I've reinstated the effort aborted by Blogger last week.

Future Plans: I'm also planning to come back to Monet - and his series paintings - in November, after the Big Drawing Book Review month in October. Then I think it's probably going to be JMW Turner in December.

Now just in case anybody doesn't know much about Monet and gardens, I thought I'd start with some links to biographical information about the man himself and then some to information about his garden at Giverny. Have a peek at the gardens and you'll see a number of the reasons why I'm a fan. I finish with some brief information to the books that I expect to be using for my research.

As always I'm very happy to have people along on this journey of discovery - so if anybody would like to join in please just say so in a comment on this post.

Monet and Gardens in Art
One of the very interesting things about Monet's paintings of gardens is that they clearly show the way in which his style and focus shifted over the years.
Most of Monet's painting of gardens have some part of Giverny as a subject - his home in Normandy west of Paris. He created his art twice - first in creating the gardens and then in painting them over very many years.
The artist moved from Paris to Giverny in 1883, believing that all painting of nature should be finished ‘on the spot’, not in a comfortable studio
Gardenvisit.com - Giverny
The garden at Giverney has two parts - a flower garden and a water garden - plus a house and studio.
From the 1890s until 1910, Monet carried out painstaking work on his Giverny gardens. He bought a neighbouring plot of land and developed the pond and the stream flowing into it, adding a Japanese bridge as a testament to his love of Japanese art. Monet obtained permission from the local government to control the flow of water into his stream and was thus able to cultivate his water lilies. The Impressionist ideal of capturing nature in all its wildness on canvas or paper is overturned; in his landscape design, Monet manipulated nature and created the settings he wanted to paint.
Royal Academy - Monet's gardens at Giverny
Interestingly Monet was the subject of paintings by other artists when painting in his garden - and I aim to look at some of the paintings of him as well.

Claud Monet
Musee de l'Orangerie

Links to information about Giverny include:
Links to biographical information about Monet include:
Books about Monet and Gardens in Art
There are numerous books about Monet and gardens and Giverny. Books which focus on or include information about Monet and Gardens which I expect to be referring to include:
  • Monet's Garden in Art by Debra N. Mancoff (Frances Lincoln 2001) paperback 144 pages; 60 paintings, 20 photographs; 250 mm x 250 mm (9.9 inches x 9.9 inches); ISBN: 780711223714
In the first book to focus on Monet's garden at Giverny as seen through his paintings, Debra Mancoff offers a revealing insight into the artist and his work.
  • Monet's Passion Elizabeth Murray (Pomegranate Art Books 1989) 144 pages, over 50 color photographs plus black-and-white historical photos, size: 8 3/4 x 8 3/4". Quarterbound, hardcover book with ribbon marker. ISBN: 0-87654-443-X.
Elizabeth Murray discusses the development and maintenance of Claude Monet’s Giverny estate as well as Monet’s color theories, design elements, and use of light and shade. Richly illustrated with Murray’s lush photographs of the present-day Giverny gardens, Monet’s Passion also offers full-color illustrations of the gardens drawn to scale
With reproductions of the artists' paintings themselves set alongside some startling photography, Bill Laws has produced a book that gives genuine insight into the work of some key artists and their gardens which is an absolute pleasure to look through and to read
  • Impressionist Gardens by Judith Bumpus Phaidon (1990/2005) 80 pp 45 colour illustrations 5 black and white illustrations; Paperback 245 x 310 mm, 9 5/8 x 12 1/4 in; ISBN 0714838136
An exploration of the Impressionists' shared passion for painting gardens
Links to posts in the Making A Mark - Gardens in Art Project" (August 2007)



  1. My visit to Giverny was a highlight of one trip to France. I loved the underlying formality of a French garden with the exuberant growth and wonderful colours - and the water garden was even more wonderful :)

    I could have moved in there!

    The American Museum next door had some great work too.

  2. Katherine, I'm in. I have book-envy though...my list is rather sad compared to yours! :-) This is another of your amazing pastels!

  3. I really like the colors in this. Especailly the blue-greeney color. Now isn't that a proper name? lol

  4. Are you also aware of Kitty Wallis' pastel works with Giverny subjects?

    She is a friend, and known for her paper manufacturing. But, many don't know that she's been a pastelist for over 45 years and has a grasp of color use that makes the flowers blush.

  5. Yes. I think I've seen 2 or 3 works by Kitty of Giverny - and I'd love to know where her website is so I could reference it!

  6. I sometimes wonder why you have stopped making your beautiful pastels such as this one.

  7. http://www.harrisgalleryhouston.com/TheArtists/Artist.asp?ArtistID=78&ImageNumber=6
    The above gets one to a grand collection of Kitty's garden works.

    I hazard to guess that the paper manufacturer, Kitty Wallis, eschews the web site (old school, perhaps ?), and also doesn't wish to have a web presence for direct inquiry to either the paper or her art. Like any other manufacturer, she wants a fellow to go to a retailer for her product.

  8. The answer to that is "two cats" who are also the reason why I haven't tried oils or anything involving jars of water.

    Did I not tell you all that Cosmo has to sit right next to me and watch while I draw? And if I show the slightest inclination to pause and reflect and not remain alert to his likely next move, he's climbing into my lap - right across the artwork.

    There's also the mess issue - it can take ages to set up/take down to be clean and safe. But I have promised myself a spell with pastels again so you never know.......

    I'd really like to be a lot looser now than I am in this pastel. I like the colours in this one and the foreground - but there are times when I want to rip it out of its frame and redo the background!

  9. Wow Casey - thanks for that!

    I can well understand the reasons why she's not got a website when you put it like that!

    This site is going straight into the list of pastel artists in my squidoo lens "Pastels - Resources for Artists"

  10. This is an excellent article on Monet. Giverny is such an inspiring place.

    The Marmottan-Monet museum has a superb online presentation of eight Monet's sketchbooks, which include studies for the water lily pond series. I put the link to the sketchbooks with my comments on My French Easel blog. Enjoy.

  11. Hello Katherine. I am a Belgian painter and I visited Monet's house and gardens in August 2007. I admire his work and also the fight of the Impressionists to be recognised as artists ... (The academic world of the time considered their paintings as uncompleted). The garden is absolutely beautiful, still full of Monet's spirit. I took a lot of pictures and made some drawings there too. Congratulations for your excellent pastel !


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