Why did I not remember the Haystacks? Why had they never caught my attention before? I don't remember discussing them in school, or even looking at them in the past. But as I pondered these lovely little paintings it occured to me... I never thought twice about this well known series, because it has only been in recent years that I have begun to paint en plein air. I could not relate to them before now.
Painting out doors. Something that Monet took seriously; wanting to capture the beauty of the world around him, and the effects of light. Did you read that? The effects of light. Something that a camera (in my experience) just doesn't do justice to. Have you ever stared at a shadow just to be able to name the value of blue that you see? Have you ever watched a cloud to count the number of colours reflecting off of it? These are things I think about ... and maybe I'm one of few 'crazies' out there... but I have been starting to think that I can relate to Monet's passion.
Take a look at these cuties... yes, they may be boring haystacks... but it doesn't matter WHAT they are... it's about the LIGHT. The following paintings were not painted to be individual master pieces (my opinion). These paintings are a study of what the sun does at different times of day. The colour of the shadow in the morning compared to the colour of shadow in the evening. The effect of fog, or an overcast sky.
As an artist who has fallen in love with painting outdoors, I have a ton of respect for this man, who would have numerous canvases set up in this field at a time, continually catching the nuance of light as it changed.
When I'm sitting outside, painting (with pastels on paper) I can't help but think... Claude didn't have bug spray, he didn't have a cell phone, he didn't even have Tupperware to keep his snacks in. Okay, yes, more crazy things that I think of.
But I also have to think that when I am outside painting - just as Monet did, when I am studying the light - just as Monet did, I AM doing something JUST AS MONET DID! I am practising the art of capturing what I see. And it really IS all about practice. Painting out doors for me, isn't about creating a masterpiece, it's about learning to capture what I see onto paper. And maybe, just maybe if I'm lucky, my painting will sell so that I can replace my dwindling collection of pastels and head back outside... to paint some more.
When was the last time you dragged your gear out side? Have you set up to practice painting the effects of light? Share your story, don't be shy!