Reviving a Vision

For the first revival, Claude Monet’s vision will be examined to understand how paintings are seen before they are painted. In his legendary series Water Lilies, various viewpoints are visible across the paintings. Some include more details whereas others are more simple. What the community aims to focus on for the first step toward revival is achieving the right vision. Monet’s work includes many details of a landscape, but those details aren’t distracting. That is why every brushstroke is essential to the work. Here, we will be centering our vision on the essential parts of an image or abstraction we wish to recreate.

Below is one of Monet’s paintings from his Water Lilies series, which was retrieved from Monet | Kelly published by Yale University Press (you can purchase this book here).

Water Lilies (1907) by Claude Monet.

As it is perceptible, there aren’t many details in the artwork. The artwork may also seem unfinished, but that isn’t the center of focus at the sketching stage. What is most crucial in sketching is capturing the bigger picture first. After that, smaller details may be added, depending on the art style the artist will use. So the take away point is to concentrate on silhouettes. Think about mountains, surfaces, land, water, clouds; all things a child will capture because they aim to create something that can be seen clearly.

Here is an image of a small pond that I took last year on my trip to Lake Placid. It is full of details that are hard to capture within a sketch. But an artist isn’t required to replicate every single silhouette they see.

Picture of a landscape; a pond full of water lilies and weeds.

To show you how silhouettes must be sketched and what should be in the frame, a section of this image will be worked on. Here is a cropped version of the original photo.

A pond full of water lilies, algae, and weeds.

Look closer into the picture, and then at the reference. An image has within itself images that seem to come from different universes.

A sketch based on this image will look quite simple if the goal is to focus on silhouettes. In one word; outline. At this stage, shading and dimensions don’t necessarily matter. The most important thing is defining objects, surfaces, and distances. Scroll down to see the sketch.

Materials you’ll need for this revival: an artist’s pencil (HB), eraser, sketch paper.

Exact materials used in this post:

A sketch paper notebook, a graphite pencil, and an eraser.
A sketch of a pond filled with water lilies and algae. Drawn with pencil on paper.

You might think: “This looks nothing like the picture!” Well you’re right. An artist should not aim to achieve realism within the first sketch. Begin working on outlines from pictures you take. Remind yourself to take pictures that have clear silhouettes. Or challenge yourself with a less defined image. It is also up to you how much of an image you’d like to recreate. Sometimes, the details are in the bigger picture, not within the detail itself.

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