Greg Cartmell

Claude Monet Painting Outside Plein Air Style – Our Common Passion

I have a true love for some artwork out there, for sunsets, and for nature in general. But wait, what does nature have to do with art? One famous artist summed things up like this…

For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value. – Cluade Money (This is a perfect quote from Claude Monet on the subject of landscape painting.)

Monet – Impressionist Artist That Loves Painting Outdoors

Claude Monet was a French Impressionist artist. Did you know that the word “impressionists” came from the title of one of Monet’s paintings called Impression: Sunrise? Check it out if you are not familiar with the painting. As for me, I am thankful to see the sunrise every morning and the sunsets which bring closure to my busy days. Monet loved to paint from nature and found being outside drove his passion to paint.

If you study his paintings, you can tell he was passionate about his art and his relationship with nature. When looking at his paintings, you can see and feel the connection. It is a oneness of nature and his bond with art and nature is portrayed in each painting. He spent hours upon hours outdoors painting and observing nature.

He enjoyed seeing the way the colors reflect on the water at different times of the day. He also watched the clouds and the way they change throughout the days. One cool thing Monet did was fixed up a boat and turned it into a floating studio. He traveled up and down the rivers, lakes, and streams observing nature and painting what he saw. He must have had tons of fun painting and being outside.

That is a very interesting way to paint. I too spend hours upon hours painting outside. I have a very dear artist friend, Cooper French, that I plein air paint with. I try to paint with him as much as possible. Painting outside helps make us grow as artists and honestly it is just a good time. Even Monet turned on a group of his artist friends to the concept of plein air painting by sharing his passion for painting outdoors. I have lots of books with Monet’s paintings in my personal library. Another book in my personal collection is one I published in 2004, of my paintings called Mississippi Light. It showcasing the beautiful landscapes across Mississippi.

I traveled across the state of Mississippi capturing the southern beauty of the countrysides. I painted gorgeous sunsets, dirt roads, beautiful trees, ponds, lakes, streams, fields, and sunrises. I have sold tons of copies, donated many books to charities and donated lots of boxes of my books to Mississippi Arts Alliance for them to sell as a fundraiser for funding their organization. It is sold on Amazon and on my site if you are interested in purchasing a copy. It is a coffee table book that makes a great gift or the perfect addition to a home or school library. I have some great memories of traveling, painting and publishing Mississippi Light.

As Claude Monet was traveling on a train, he looked out the window and saw the most beautiful place in Giverny, Normandy in Northern France. He ended up purchasing the land and later the land adjourning the property. He lived in this home from 1883 to 1926. So, for forty-three years he definitely knew how to live. This beautiful property is where he painted the subjects you see in his paintings. He painted the Japanese bridges, huge paintings of waterlilies, weeping willows and gardens in bloom.

He was involved in everything to do with making the home very special to him and to his family. He picked out the colors of the home to match the palette of the subjects he was painting surrounding him. He not only was a painter but he loved to garden. He picked out special flowers for the grounds creating the colorful palette that he captured in his paintings. His home and grounds are open late March until November to tour. It is a place of interest if I am ever in the area I will be sure to check it out.

Tuesday, March 20th is the first day of spring and I can not wait to get out there and paint on location. Here in Mississippi, it has been a very cold weather and I am beginning to see the daffodils and Japanese Magnolias blooming, hear bullfrogs croaking and birds singing like a chorus. I am ready to grab my paints and go plein air painting with my buddy, Cooper French. I relish the times I spend painting nature and there’s nothing I’d rather do, seriously.