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!
Upon announcing my workshop, I was honored it quickly filled up with 10 eager students. (please email me firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
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.
During the midday Art Colony Giverny took us to amazing painting locations where the Impressionists painted before us.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
They also took us on a boat ride down the scenic Seine River where many of Monet’s important landscapes were conceived.
The Artists’ Boat was a replica of the ones which the Impressionists, including Monet, used to plein air paint the river.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com)
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/