I stumbled across this painting by Claude Monet, Garden at Giverny. What a shimmering display of color!
Some key observations:
- This is a great example of broken color. Up close, it’s a patchwork of greens, yellows, reds, oranges, and blues. Broken color allows you to inject rich colors into a painting without it appearing overdone. That’s because you can break up the rich colors with dabs of some other color. A slab of ultramarine blue appears much stronger than dabs of ultramarine blue woven together with dabs of green, light blue, purple, etc.
- There’s a vague figure in the painting, perhaps Monet’s wife. Broken color allows her to melt into the surroundings. Notice the use of common colors between the subject and the garden, particularly the reds.
- People tend to be strong focal points (we are naturally drawn toward other people). But in this case, the garden is the focal point and the figure is just part of this environment. The way you paint the subject determines its importance.
- Green is the dominant color in terms of the space it takes up. The reds and yellows are small but strong accents.
Feel free to share your thoughts about the painting in the comment section below. If you want to learn more, you should check out my Painting Academy course. I’ll walk you through the time-tested fundamentals of painting. It’s perfect for absolute beginner to intermediate painters.
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