Drawing One Part Three landscape drawing Research Point Monet Pissaro and Cezanne and working in series with the landscape

Drawing the landscape

Look at artists who worked in series with the landscape. Make notes in your learning log about the challenges they faced and how they tackled them.

What is the meaning of “in series” does this mean several pictures in one place?


I suppose  Monet’s  most popular paintings are those of his garden and Lily pond of which he made several different paintings .  He also did many other series includimg those of the cathedral at Rouen at differing times of day and year, and of the haystacks in  the neighbouring fields.

He returned time and time again to the same spot to depict the same picture, varying at times the distance from the subject, but mainly studying how the picture changed with the light and time of day as well as time of year (see Japanese bridge paintings below). He would have had to sit out in all weathers and temperatures (although perhaps not as much a challenge as if he had he lived in UK), and would have worked quickly to capture the shifting light and reflections on the surface of water,(again perhaps not changing so quickly as had it been the UK—not that I’m jealous of his warm and sunny clime!) In England the changing clouds and weather probably present even greater problems as the subject changes from light to dark and from dry to wet very quickly. The challenge of finding a place where time can be spent to study and draw which does not involve dashing out of the rain.

Claude Monet (artist)
French, 1840 – 1926 The Japanese Footbridge, 1899  oil on canvas   On line image sourced May 2013 form: ref:http://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/gg85/gg85-74796.html

The Water-Lily Pond with Bridge Le Bassin aux nymphéas

sourced on line May2013  from:http://www.artofmonet.com/Home_Page.htm

The Japanese Bridge (The Bridge over the Water-Lily Pond)Claude Monet, 1900

sourced on line May 2013  from:  http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/search/monet%20japenese%20bridge/1

The Japanese Bridge (The Bridge in Monet’s Garden)Claude Monet, 1895-1896

sourced on line May 2013 from:  http://www.wikipaintings.org/en/search/monet%20japenese%20bridge/1

Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926)    The Japanese Footbridge

sourced on line May 2013 from:  http://www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=79254

The Japanese Bridge about 1919-24, Claude-Oscar Monet

sourced on line May 2013 from:  http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/claude-oscar-monet-the-japanese-bridge

“Working quickly, out of doors, he sought to transcribe with directness and spontaneity his sensory experience of the landscape before him. But by about 1880……….., Monet was beginning to show more interest in the painted surface itself. This interest would lead him to explore the same subject repeatedly in his series paintings, seeking to unify individual canvases and harmonize each series as a whole.” sourced on line May 2013  Ref:  http://www.nga.gov/collection/gallery/gg85/gg85-46652.html

In the paintings of the footbridge in his garden, Monet starts in 1899 and early 1900s with a relatively realistic, but impressionistic view of the bridge, capturing its geometry and colour against the harmonious colours of the river and flowers. These pictures appear to capture the colours and atmosphere of different seasons. In the two later paintings, the paint is used to produce drama, both in the manner of its application and the colours in the pictures. Without the initial picture these two abstractions would be difficult to identify as the same footbridge, yet have atmosphere due to the paint, textures and colours. At a basic level the blue picture is wintry and the red/brown autumnal.

As the bridge in these pai ntings was on Monet’s private land I trust there were few interuptions or people ask him to move.

One of the challenges that Monet experienced was his failing vision and this may help explain the colour changes of his paintings and the increased blurring of the edges of the pictures”  sourced on line May 2013 Ref: http://psych.ucalgary.ca/PACE/VA-Lab/AVDE-Website/Monet.html

“He wrote letters to friends, how colours were getting dull, and it was hard to tell them apart, and how he had to label tubes of paint,” Marmor said. “He was very vocal about how his failing eyesight was affecting him.” sourced on line May 2013 Ref: http://www.livescience.com/1512-blurry-world-claude-monet-recreated.html

Pissaro ‘s Landscapes – the challenges he faced and how he tackled them”.

 ”Work at the same time upon sky, water, branches, ground, keeping everything going on and equal basis and unceasingly rework until you have got it. Paint generously and unhesitatingly, for it is best not to lose the first impression.”[11]    sourced on line May 2013  ref:Pissaro   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camille_Pissarro#Use_of_outdoor_natural_settings

Pissarro, preferred to finish his paintings outdoors, often at one sitting, which gave his work a more realistic feel.  As a result, his art was sometimes criticized as being “vulgar,” because he painted what he saw: “rutted and edged hodgepodge of bushes, mounds of earth, and trees in various stages of development.”

Pissaro had a strong friendship and working relationship with Cezanne,

“While their subjects were often similar or even on occasion identical, their means for describing these scenes were quite different. “sourced on line May2013  ref: http://www.moma.org/explore/conservation/cezannepissarro/conservation.html

Pissaro’s series of paintings

One of the main problems of painting outside prior to the mid nineteenth century used to be the mixing of paint and carrying of large amounts of  equipment. New pigments at the time of the impressionists not only came in pre-packed tubes

(“Without colors in tubes, there would be no Cezanne, no Monet, no Pissaro, and no Impressionism.”

—Pierre Auguste Renoir )

(In 1841, a South Carolina painter named John G. Rand patented a new device for paint storage, the collapsible metal tube. He invented the tube out of frustration, to often seeing his bladder stored paint spoiled before it could be used…… Now the painter could work anywhere on the painting’s surface at anytime, developing the whole painting at once.) (“Don’t paint bit by bit, but paint everything at once by placing tones everywhere.” —Camille Pissarro ) ref: http://ncartmuseum.org/pdf/revolution-guide.pdf

 but were also much brighter and more opaque, hence could produce an impressive picture at the time of the painting (“ en plein air”) without having to depend on multiple glazes. Ref: http://ncartmuseum.org/pdf/revolution-guide.pdf

The box easel allowed the artist to carry out the necessary tubes of paints. Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En_plein_air


Examples of Pissaro’s series of paintings of the orchard at Eragny:




Apple Tree at Eragny   Camille Pissarro

sourced on line May 2013  ref:  http://www.camille-pissarro.org/Apple-Tree-at-Eragny-large.html

Flowering Apple Trees at Eragny  Camille Pissarro

sourced on line May 2013 ref:     http://www.camille-pissarro.org/Flowering-Apple-Trees-at-Eragny.html

Flowering Apple Trees, Eragny  Camille Pissarro

sourced on line May 2013   ref: http://www.camille-pissarro.org/Flowering-Apple-Trees,-Eragny.html

Morning, Flowering Apple Trees, Eragny  Camille Pissarro

sourced oin line May 2013  ref:   http://www.camille-pissarro.org/Morning,-Flowering-Apple-Trees,-Eragny.html

After the Rain, Autumn, Eragny  Camille Pissarro


Snowy Landscape at Eragny with an Apple Tree, 1895 Camille Pissarro

sourced on line (May 2013) ref:   http://www.camille-pissarro.org/Snowy-Landscape-at-Eragny-with-an-Apple-Tree,-1895.html

Look at the beautiful varieties of colour ads strokes that reflect the weather and atmosphere of these apple trees drawn at different times of day and year and from differing positions.

I particularly like this painting depicting the fog:

Fog in Eragny  Camille Pissarro

sourced on line May 2013  ref:  http://www.camille-pissarro.org/Fog-in-Eragny.html

Other challenges of painting outdoors include:


dust which can collect in the picture if wet paint is involved, many impressionists used this aspect of painting en plein air as part of their picture.

Having to select in a short time period what will be included in the picture –so, to be selective about the subject  and so keep the final picture simple.

Whether to complete the picture at the time or to take it back to the studio.

Monet often returned to the same spot to capture differing times of day.

Too much sun or rain –many Impressionists used a white umbrella to help diffuse the light. sourced on line May 2013 Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/En_plein_air



Paul Cezanne painting in the late 1800s was the fore-runner  of the cubist movement, applying paint in blocks of colour. He came from Aix en Provence and painted the countryside frequently in the area.

Some of his most memorable paintings are of the mountain Sainte Victoire:

Paul Cézanne The Montagne Sainte-Victoire, c.1887

sourced on line May 2013 http://www.courtauld.ac.uk/gallery/collections/paintings/imppostimp/cezanne_montagne.shtml

Mont Sainte-Victoire, 1902-4 Paul Cézanne, French   Oil on canvas

sourced on line   ref: http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/312.html?page=3

“He hoped instead to create a “harmony parallel to nature.” We can see that goal fulfilled in his carefully harmonized patches of color that fit together like pieces in a mosaic.” Ref: http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/312.html?page=3

 The decision as to what to describe in detail, what colours to employ to produce a believable perspective and what angle or viewpoint to employ to depict the subject are all challenges which Cezanne faced:    “ The same subject seen from a different angle offers subject for study of the most powerful interest and so varied that I think I could occupy myself for months without changing place, by turning now more to the right, now more to the left.” —Paul Cézanne in a letter to his son, 1906  ref: http://www.philamuseum.org/exhibitions/312.html?page=3

photograph of Mont Sainte-Victoire:  sourced on line June 2013 from  ref:  http://en.aixenprovencetourism.com/aix-sainte-victoire.htm

Mont Sainte-Victoire and the Viaduct of the Arc River Valley (1885–1887), Metropolitan Museum of Art

sourced on line (June 2013) from ref:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mont_Sainte-Victoire_%28C%C3%A9zanne%29

Mont Sainte-Victoire Paul Cézanne  (French, Aix-en-Provence 1839–1906 Aix-en-Provence)  Date:ca. 1902–6

sourced on line (June 2013) ref:     http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the-collections/110000311