Friday, September 05, 2008

Studying with Claude Monet

I have been searching for a good teacher or book to help me explore the many secrets of colour in art. There are many worth while books to review. Some are very good, but for the past week I have been learning from one of the best.

I am a big fan of Athenaeum. The site is a virtual museum of fine arts with thousands of paintings in generous size available for download to study and learn from. For the past week I have been spending time with Claude, and he has taken me on an incredible journey through colour. I can't explain it all... rather it would take me a book to do so, but let me just share with you what I have been studying and you, I am sure will draw your own lessons if you take the time to learn.

Here is one set of paintings done by Claude Monet of the Rouen Cathedral. Everyone is a masterpiece, and everyone is a book about colour Harmony all by itself. Enjoy the ride!

Here is what I do with these: Take each painting into your Photoshop and pick-up the eye dropper tool. Now pass that tool over the painting and see all the colours that make up the painting.

Now: What is the harmony? What are the dominant colours? How did Monet use them? How can you use them? Why do they work? Are they all true to colour harmony theory???

The most interesting thing that I got from these lessons is that blue may be the opposite of orange, and most people would tell you to put them together to get a vivid contrast, but blue and yellow make a much more vivid and vibrant contrast than blue and orange. Purple and yellow are opposites, and they should be strongest at pulling each other out, but purple and orange have a much stronger pull together than purple and yellow. What can you see? What lessons can you add?


  1. I love your idea of drawing an image into photoshop and finding the colors that were used. I've often wished to put that ink dropper on a webpage put I guess I'll have to wait for technology. Hope Hala and daughter are doing well.

  2. So nice to hear from you again Bobbie! That ink dropper taught me so many lessons in the past few days! One astonishing lesson: Dramatic skys have almost NO blue in them!!

    Hala and Z are doing great. Thank you so much for asking. Rima was in Beirut and visited with them recently. Thank God, things are looking up for them. Any idea where your newly reclusive daughter is? I missed her posts!


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