Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet’s Garden

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

(*Join me in Monet’s Garden for my “Spectacular Autumn” workshop in Giverny, France. September 5-12, 2018. I’m taking applications here > ART COLONY GIVERNY .)

Teaching a workshop and painting in Monet’s Garden at his home in Giverny, France was a dream come true!

It all started when I was invited by Art Colony Giverny to teach a special workshop with the highlight of plein air painting in Monet’s Garden without the general public!

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Caroline of Art Colony Giverny enthusiastically welcomes us with open arms into Monet’s Garden!

Upon announcing my workshop, I was honored it quickly filled up with 10 eager students. (please email me lori@lorimcnee.com to be added to my 2018 Giverny workshop waitlist). I was happy to add my good friend and fellow painter Shanna Kunz, as my teaching assistant.

Each day, my students and I had the unique experience of painting in Monet’s Garden before opening and after closing hours.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Eagerly awaiting our first morning inside Monet’s Garden. Each morning we entered through his big green garage doors.

Every morning we were up early to capture the first morning light, and then back each evening to witness the changing skies, and colors of the magical garden.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Our special time in the garden seemed like a spiritual experience. We were all touched by the beauty and had a deep reverence for the history that surrounded us.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Sunlight filters through the morning mist of the garden as workshop students look for the perfect painting spot.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

A happy workshop student has the famous bridge to herself!

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

“Morning at Monet’s”  by Lori McNee

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

During the midday Art Colony Giverny took us to amazing painting locations where the Impressionists painted before us.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Lori’s demo of the famous rapeseed (canola) fields.

I taught the ideals of composition, paint mixing, the importance of an organized palette, using warm and cool colors, creating depth, the importance of thumbnail sketches and using Notan, and many other painting fundamentals.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Thank you to my sponsors Cobra by Royal Talens and Princeton Brush Company for the gifts! Also thanks to Jane Hunt for sending everyone a Value Viewer!

The weather in the Normandy region is quite changeable and unpredictable. My students and I weathered rainstorms, wind, and even heat during our weeklong stay. But we didn’t let a little rain didn’t dampen our spirits!

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Painting in the rain in Giverny, France with the French military making their rounds…

All of us were thrilled to freely walk the garden and Giverny in the footsteps of the most famous Impressionist painter, Claude Monet! I was even allowed to tour his home alone, and visit his art studio.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Lori waving from Claude Monet’s bedroom window!

Monet’s home is still furnished with his original furniture and fixtures. Walking through the home is like stepping back in time.

What an experience!

Outside, my students and I stood and painted in the exact location where Monet conceived and executed over 250 of his famous waterlily paintings.

Today, a special selection of the huge canvases of the Nympheas is permanently on display at the Musee de l’Orangerie in Paris which was built especially for these masterpieces.

(It was especially meaningful to visit the Orangerie after spending a week in Giverny.)

Viewing the giant waterlily paintings in person is a not-to-be-missed experience for any Impressionist art lover. When in Paris, I highly recommend a visit the Musee de l’Orangerie and the 5th floor of the Musee d’Orsay.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Lori McNee viewing one of Monet’s masterpieces at the Musse de l’Orangerie in Paris.

The charming town of Giverny, France boasts a rich history of Impressionism which is especially apparent in the Giverny Museum of Impressionism. During Monet’s day, many of the worlds leading painters visited Giverny as they still do today. One highlight was dinner at the Hotel Baudy. 

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

The Hotel Baudy in Giverny, France

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Monet’s Haystacks hanging in the Hotel Baudy restaurant

In 1887, American painters in need of lodging in Giverny. Madame Baudy decided to change her village store and bar into a hotel. The site welcomed painters such as Monet, Cézanne, Rodin, Renoir, Cassatt, Metcalf, and a host of American artists.

The staff is welcoming and friendly, and the food is great! It was fun to dine among original and copies of old paintings (an original Monet is rumored to hang there).

We also were able to plein air paint in the magnificent rose garden and visit the spectacular art studio which Madame Baudy built for the visiting artists over century ago.

It was fun to imagine what it must have been like visiting the hotel 100 years ago…

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Caroline and Rich of Art Colony Giverny share a toast in Hotel Baudy below a painting by American artist, Gale Bennett. Bennett was Caroline’s mentor.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Plein air painting in the Hotel Baudy rose garden

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Hotel Baudy Window by Lori McNee

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

The artists’ studio at Hotel Baudy

Our wonderful Art Colony Giverny hosts also took us to visit Pierre Bonnard’s home in neighboring Vernon, France! Pierre Bonnard (1867–1947 ) was another major painter.

His home on the Seine River was often a subject of his paintings. The current owners of the home graciously opening their doors to my workshop.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Lori McNee (right) with Caroline from Art Colony and the owner of Pierre Bonnard’s home. Note the white railing that is seen in many of Bonnard’s paintings.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Post Impressionist, Pierre Bonnard used his home for a subject in many of his paintings.

They also took us on a boat ride down the scenic Seine River where many of Monet’s important landscapes were conceived.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Lori at the helm of the Artists’ Boat on the Seine

The Artists’ Boat was a replica of the ones which the Impressionists, including Monet, used to plein air paint the river.

Morning Mist on the Seine by Claude Monet

Giverny is a bustling resort town by day and a quiet hamlet at night. However, the presence of armed military and police patrolling the tourist town is a stark reminder that the world events have effected even this special oasis.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

In Giverny, when the sun goes down, the locals come out to enjoy a few laughs alongside the quiet streets. After that, the many cats of Giverny come out to walk among the shadows of the narrow streets.

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Our week in Giverny was a life changing experience for many of us. We were able to immerse ourselves into the Normandy culture and into the minds of the Impressionists.

Now, I am already looking forward to 2018 and my next plein air painting adventure workshop in Giverny! (For more information email lori@lorimcnee.com)

Memories of Giverny and Painting in Monet's Garden

Lori and her workshop students at dinner in Vernon, France!

Want to plein air paint with me this October in Tuscany, Italy? Read here to find out more or to sign up > http://www.finearttips.com/2017/02/plein-air-painting-under-the-tuscan-sun-in-lucca-italy/ 

4 Comments

  1. Tim May 24, 2017 at 12:19 am

    Inspiring Lori. Little chiily? How about summer temps?

    • Lori A McNee May 24, 2017 at 6:33 am

      Hello Tim, yes it was chilly, surprisingly so! But, it usually warmed up in the afternoons. Wearing layers is the key. The summer months do get warmer. Thanks for enjoying my post.

  2. Nancy C Kneeland May 24, 2017 at 8:39 am

    Amazing pictorial diary! Really great post!!!!! xoxo Nancy

    • Lori A McNee May 25, 2017 at 6:43 am

      Hi Nancy! I didn’t know you followed my blog. How fun to see you here. Thanks for taking time to look and comment. I’m glad you got a little peek into my trip. It was such a wonderful experience. Thanks for all your support. 🙂

Comments are closed.