Growing a Garden...In a Workshop

"Monet's Muse" 22 x 28in Acrylic on Canvas
Click here to view prints
It's summer again, and time for another Sojie Workshop.  This time the focus is on landscape and light, with guest demos and a variety of translations including traditional and digital media.

I wasn't sure if I would participate this round, as being pregnant makes it difficult for me to predict how I'll feel each day.  Scrolling through the photo gallery, though, I spotted one that called to me:  a photo of Monet's garden in Giverny.  I was lucky enough to be able to translate this photo, and the result is above.

(Click here to view original photo:

The great thing about the Sojie workshops is that artists are required to post works in progress.  For me, this means thinking carefully about each stage of the painting, and taking my time as I paint.  I usually paint in a bit of a fury, so these workshops give me a chance to grow and learn from the process of posting and sharing along the way.

I bought a small set of Golden acrylics, with pthalo greens and blues, which I built up in thin layers (another way of working slowly and with more restraint).

The painting was quite enjoyable, and progressed in the following stages:

Stage 1: I toned the canvas with some payne's gray and white, blocking in lights and darks.

Stage 2: More lights and darks, and some basic compositional elements included as well.  I worked a bit on the water, knowing it would be an important part of the background of the painting. 
Stage 3: I finished up the house and sky, and the light hills in the background.  I used a large brush to work in the middle ground greens, keeping the brushstrokes uniform to the forms of the plants.  Finished the lights and darks in the water, pulling some of the colors from the background and middle ground into the water.
Stage 4: Finished the middle ground flowers, added some foreground greens, and blocked in the form of the foreground tree to see if it would work in the composition.
Final stage: finished the tree and foreground flowers, using darks to emphasize the lights in the colors.

Anything from Monet's garden would be inspiring to many artists, but this particular piece came at a unique time for me.  I had recently inherited a book called Monet's Garden in Art, which features artwork from different guests inspired by the famous Giverny garden.  Shortly after, I read about an exhibit in New York that features a replica of Monet's house and gardens, which left me wishing I could afford to grab a quick plane ticket and go see it.  By the time I saw Rhoufi's photo, it seemed like a natural stop on the inspiration highway. 

Click here to see Rhoufi's profile:

Click here to see more of my botanically inspired artworks:


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