05.19/Monet’s garden

Featured for May: Walking through an impressionist’s world

My wife and I went on a Viking river cruise last summer, something I would recommend highly to anyone interested in an excellent travel experience.

Our cruise began and ended in Paris, with an eight-day boat trip on the Seine River in between (we also added three days in Paris before the cruise and a train trip to London for a three-day stay in Oxford after the trip). When I reviewed the itinerary before the trip I was excited about touring the Louvre, seeing historic D-Day beaches and the American cemetery in Normandy, visiting small river towns along the Seine and seeing castles and other ancient structures. 

I also saw that one morning was dedicated to a visit of artist Claude Monet’s home and gardens in Giverny. I’m not much of a fan of impressionism as an art form — I’m more into realistic paintings — so I assumed that morning would rank low on my list of memories from the trip.

I was wrong. And surprised.

As I wandered through Monet’s gardens and photographed scenes that were the subject of many of his paintings I could better understand Monet’s transition from a more traditional artist into a style referred to as French Impressionist. The scenes in the garden were pretty, but ordinary. Painting them in a realistic style would provide limited variety of subject matter. But focusing on the light, color, form and composition of a landscape rather than realistic detail inserted creativity into the scene.

That’s when I decided I would explore converting my nice, but rather boring, photos of Monet’s garden into something that would mimic Monet’s impressionist style using relatively small and thin, but visible, brush strokes.

When we returned home from the trip I experimented with some processes in Photoshop that could convert my photographs into something resembling a digital impressionist painting. It took a few days and quite a bit of research before I came up with something that I liked.

Each impressionist image in this gallery is accompanied by the original photo to provide a comparison of styles.

I’m still not a fan of impressionist paintings, but I now have a better appreciation of the style.

I add a new featured gallery the first of each month. The numbers in the gallery title represent the month and year it was featured. Last month’s featured gallery, with photos from zoos, has been moved to my featured gallery archives. 

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