Revisiting Giverny and Claude Monet

The Green Door
soft pastel on Pastelbord
36” x 24”
My photo from Giverny, September 2022

I was in France this past September and one of the highlights of the trip for me was visiting Claude Monet’s home and gardens. Just incredible, to be where Claude Monet lived, where he worked, gardened, painted. I was in awe of the wide variety of flowers in the English Garden, every color imaginable, along with the lush symmetry. The famous Japanese Garden where the water lilies were still blooming in September, was like walking through a dream. It was incredible and inspirational.

Pictured above, “The Green Door”. I felt this size would be best for re-creating a journey back in time to Giverny.

I had done several small studies before attempting the final version, see below. Each time I did a new sketch I became more aware of what I wanted to include in the painting… practice practice does make a difference!

Monet’s English Garden, version 3
soft pastel on Lux Archival
10” x 8”
Study, 7″x5″, version 2
First sketch & version 1, working through composition basics

When I started the painting I had several sets of pastels picked out, ended up needing a color here and there, and the next thing I knew my table was full of all my favorite sets! I did mostly use Sennelier and Henri Roche pastels, thinking let the French pastels connect to my French inspired painting.

Just a few of the pastels used!

I photographed the process as my painting developed. Taking photos at each stage helped me see with fresh, critical eyes.

Initial color block
First layer of color rubbed and the board is toned
Lots of greens, and the path looked flat…
The sky is now blue! I also added fine pumice gel to the path to create texture, the gel is wet here
Building textures in the path, also adding highlights to the shrubs
Here I added gesso, before I painted flowers, this creates more texture
The painting is starting to come alive, but a little too dark, the final version is the first image posted above

I will take this to be framed in a few days (just need to make sure I don’t see any glaring problems) and plan on hanging this wonderful memory in my home. Now I can spend the rest of the month organizing my pastel storage and studio space, good luck too me!