Artists, Influencing Me, Photography

Influencing Me – Claude Monet

This is an unusual one for me, so many people know Claude Monet’s paintings and I don’t think he directly influences me, but sometimes a technique or an idea that they have can.  Don’t get me wrong, I love his work, and love looking at it, but I don’t paint like him, though I like the impressionist idea.

Haystack Morning Snow

One of the first paintings I ever saw of his was in 1987 at the National Gallery of Victoria.  They had a lone of one and it was one of haystack paintings.  The colours are just stunning and I loved his use of light with that colour.  I know that if I saw a haystack in a field like this it would look like this, but I love the way it is interpreted and the way he made use of what he saw.  His use of light was especially important, it is essential for a photographer to understand light and how it can be used to make a great image.


When I look at the paintings and then go back to my own work, I try to remember that it doesn’t always have to be perfect, you just have to give the impression of it.  That more can be expressed through the imperfection sometimes, than through a perfectly executed photo.

Sunset in Venice

Not that we necessarily do the same work, I can see some similarities between his and mine.  Architecture and water, two things I love.  When you look at his work you can also start to see that you can exaggerate some things, but they need to fit in with the whole and not stand out on their own. I find some people over saturate images, and most of the time it looks horrendous, but there are times, such as a sunset, that a little enhancement can add to it.

The Water Lily Pond Pink Har

In today’s world of art it seems everything has to have a meaning.  If you want to get work into a gallery you have to have some reason for why you want to create art.  You can’t just say, because I want to make beautiful work.  It is refreshing to see an artist who was very successful just doing beautiful paintings.  What is wrong with that?

I have started telling potential new clients that I don’t do normal architectural photography.  I believe that, my work isn’t the same as other architectural photographers.  I try to create an impression, an artistic impression of a building.  I want to evoke emotions and try to change the image in a way that gives the viewer more of an impression of what is there.   I don’t know if I succeed at that, but hopefully through Monet I am starting to do it more and more.

Waiting for the Meeting

Another image from the Boardroom at the Manchester Unity Building.  A solace feeling I hope.  Yet another impression and a different angle of the room.  Image manipulation is so important to my work, and learning to use the tools of it have been a massive task.  I couldn’t create my impressions without them.  If I didn’t have them, and didn’t use them, then I imagine my images would be boring and just normal shots.

If you don’t know who Claude Monet is then I recommend you look him up.  He was an amazing artist and I think we could all learn a lot from him.  He was a plein-air landscape painter and we are plein-air photographers.


  1. Hi Leanne,

    This is amazing and helps me understand what it is that you do that I respond so strongly too.

    You said you try to “evoke emotions” and you succeed, in my opinion.

    One of the things my mom would talk to me about was knowing the light source in the picture. It affects everything in the picture and you’d better be consistent on where the light and shadow fall. Thinking of that and looking at the Monets above, I see that he was always rigorous with light source even as he played with that light’s effects.

    I love the imperfection/impression aspect that you connect from Monet to your photos, and that’s one of the points you make that help me understand what you are doing.

    In the Monet above with the lily pads, isn’t it amazing how the left side of the willow tree melts from greens into blurred reds?

    I love these “Influencing Me” posts. Fascinating and rare to get to hear what goes on in an artist’s mind. Most artists I’ve known are quiet and I’ve just watched them work (when I worked (administration) at the art school where my mom studied. (Adult studies.)) I loved being around all the artists, and enjoyed their quiet nature. (Relaxing for a writer.) But at the same time, I really like hearing what you are thinking about! It’s a whole ‘nother world for those of us on the outside of it.


    • Same for me, as an artist, a writer, I have been influenced by other artists, and not just writers. My two favorite painters, Dali and Vermeer, have influenced and inspired me greatly. Great minds think and make art alike!

  2. Heather File says

    How I love Monet. We went to his house, walked through the gardens and walked over the famous bridge. It was amazing, as if we were walking in his paintings!

  3. aklanta says

    It was insightful reading the post and your analysis… Thanks

  4. Sheila says

    Would love to see you do a series of posts on what NOT to do in photo manipulation. Great work on the board room photo. You have a great talent!

  5. you really doing your own thing. the first time i see it, admire your work and gave me an idea why not to try it :)

  6. Although we do totally different types of photography, your statement that you “…try to create an impression, an artistic impression of a building. I want to evoke emotions and try to change the image in a way that gives the viewer more of an impression of what is there. ” resonates with me. I try to evoke a mood in every photograph I complete.

    Thank you for this post. It gave me another resource to consider.

  7. Sheila says

    Your Manchester Unity Building photo reminds me not only of the sunsets of Monet, but also a little of the Van Gogh picture of the pool hall, with its subdued, bar lighting and shadowy objects revealing themselves in the reflections and dim pools of light. There’s something creepy in the atmosphere of your photo, another thing it has in common with the Van Gogh, I think because of the artificial, man made environment. I like this tension, which adds something special.

  8. I love the impressionist era and Monet is my favorite artist of that time – I spent a long time in the Orangerie Museum in Paris in the area with wall to wall murals or his work – mesmerizing!

  9. Leanne these posts of yours are extra special ! I really like hearing about your experiences with artists and the influences , or how just a side of something in their work has inspired you – without all the hype speak that some people are inclined to do . There are enough ‘experts’ out there to give full super academical accounts, I like to hear a personal side which I can relate to .
    I saw the murals like Kim above mentions and the sheer size and scale was breathtaking. Those hay stooks of his are one of my favourites series .
    ‘massive’ task learning to use the tools in image manipulation . Oh golly yes… the HOURS and DAYS I know you must have put in !
    Have a great productive creative week :-)

  10. The boardroom is a wonderful artwork.
    You have done a masterful job of putting the elements of light, color, contrast, line and pattern into this photograph. It is not only visually interesting, but the images emphasized tell the story of the boardroom’s activities even while resting, depicting its importance.
    I have featured it on my blog.

  11. Monet was a superb impressionist and I enjoyed your writing about him. in his approach to certain subjects – Water Lilies for example – it was almost a photographic approach: re-visiting and re-painting the same scene over and over again, just like we may re-visit and take multiple images under different lighting conditions. I, too manipulate my images using Photoshop’s filters. I see benefit and no harm in employing techniques that borrow from the ‘Artist’s’ palette to amend the true image by creating more of an impression rather than a straight image. Love the Boardroom picture by the way.

  12. I love this idea! Painters had to understand light then photographers do now. They studied the way it fell in such detail because they had to recreate it.

  13. I love the way you have interpreted Monet’s influence (I’m a fan also). You have a tlent for seeing possibilities and making them real. Superb :)

  14. I’ve always loved Monet myself… Love your post.. as usual. :D Sorry to be so slow commenting, but my mom isn’t doing too well : (

  15. That board room looks so inviting, like a place where wise decisions would be made. I would never have thought to connect Monet with such a place, but your post made your connection process clear. I also agree with the commenter who compared this picture to a Van Gogh.

  16. Ihen I go to art galleries, I look for a one that I would want to buy. That haystack was my favorite even though my grandma didn’t like it.

  17. I was looking at your signpost photo, and thinking how well it could be transformed into an Impressionistic painting. So it’s very good to know you feel the same way about your work :-)

  18. Monet is my favourite! I was happier the day we spent at the Musee D’Orsay in Paris to see Monet’s exhibits than I was while we were at the Louvre.

  19. I have a big book on Monet, that shows how he painted the same exact scene (like the haystacks and the lily pond) over and over, in different seasons, weather, and times of day. I don’t think many people realize this, because of course we only see one version at a time in museums. His approach has been a big influence on my own work.

  20. Monet’s one of my inspirations too. I’m glad you mentioned the often forgotten idea of making art that’s beautiful, not art that has to necessarily mean something. Beauty itself is meaning enough, in my opinion. Reminds me of this Monet quote: “People discuss my art and pretend to understand as if it were necessary to understand, when it’s simply necessary to love.”

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