For some reason the works of Claude Monet have been rolling around my head, in particular his studies of the cliffs at Etretat. I found that he has done many studies of this place – it must have been a favorite of his. The above gouache was inspired by his version from 1885, Study from Etretat, the Manneporte, Reflections on Water.
It was really interesting to use Monet’s study as a study of my own. His painting is in oil, mine in gouache. The beauty of gouache is that it can respond in ways similar to oils, such as brushwork and color mushing. Initially, I just blobbed the colors in, but as I came closer to completion, I saw the little things which make this study more than just a simple study. Little things such as the dry brush on the cliffs, the dabs of color making up reflections and waves, the scumbling to create a sense of a sunny fog, became more apparent as I moved closer to completion of my own painting.
I’ve always loved the way Monet handled light; perhaps my studies of his works will help me with my own depth issues and contrast problems. I think this painting worked out fairly well. Even better, it was a lot of fun!