Tag Archives: Painting

Creative Juice #233

Creative Juice #233

Pretty to look at. Fun to think about.

Forgotten Artist: Rosa Bonheur

Rosa Bonheur

I recently read a captivating article in the Smithsonian magazine about a French artist I’d never heard of, Rosa Bonheur (March 16, 1822—May 25, 1899). Her story is a perfect topic for Women’s History Month.

Named Marie-Rosalie, she started painting as a child, with a little instruction from her art teacher father, and by copying paintings in the Louvre. By the time she was 26, she was winning awards for her art. Empress Eugénie (the wife of Napoleon III) awarded her the medal of Chevalier of the Légion d’Honneur, the first woman to be so honored for achievement in the arts. Royalty of Mexico, Spain, and Russia also honored her. She was the richest and most famous female artist of 19th-century France. Yet, today, few recognize her name.

Bonheur loved nature, and she collected many pets, such as dogs, sheep, horses, monkeys, lions, and tigers. She produced many detailed, life-like paintings and sculptures of animals. She liked to observe animals up close, often in all-male settings like livestock fairs and slaughterhouses. Wearing the long skirts of the day in such locations would be inconvenient; she had to apply for a special permit to wear male clothing, documented by a letter from her physician that it was required “for reason of health.”

The Horse Fair, Rosa Bonheur 1852-55
The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur, 1855-59
Plowing in Nevers by Rosa Bonheur
Weaning the Calves, Rosa Bonheur 1879
Weaning the Calves by Rosa Bonheur, 1879
A Limier Briquet Hound, Rosa Bonheur 1856
A Limier Briquet Hound by Rosa Bonheur, 1856
Walking Bull, Rosa Bonheur 1846
Walking Bull by Rosa Bonheur, 1846
Shorn Ewe, Rosa Bonheur 1842
Shorn Ewe by Rosa Bonheur, 1842

Rosa Bonheur achieved fame as an artist at a time when most female artists were not even taken seriously. After her death, her work fell out of fashion, but a woman recently purchased Bonheur’s former residence, which she is transforming into a museum of her work. To learn more about Bonheur and the effort to give her the attention she deserves, click the link in the first paragraph of this post.

Monday Morning Wisdom #296

Monday Morning Wisdom #296

Maybe you’re standing in a place where the sky and the mountains are very dramatic; the trees have incredible color and the water is vibrant. You have to decide what you want your painting to be about, render that element the most important, and then paint everything else to support it.

~ Scott Christensen in On Distant Ground, about landscape painting

Creative Juice #220

Creative Juice #220

One of my favorite blogs, which I visit almost every day, is MyOBT, which stands for “one beautiful thing.” Donna’s mission is to post one beautiful thing every day, and she succeeds, although sometimes the post might be more funny than beautiful. (But I always appreciate a laugh—don’t you?) If you follow Creative Juice every Friday, you know it almost always contains a post from MyOBT. I try not to post more than one article from any one blog on a single Friday, but in Donna’s case I sometimes have to make an exception, because her output of beauty is just so vast and I want to share it all. In fact, if you love her posts, too, you should follow her blog yourself so you don’t miss a single one. If you need more convincing, today’s CJ features a dozen wonderful posts from MyOBT.

Video of the Week #281: Sketchbook Tour


Creative Juice #217

Creative Juice #217

Look. Listen. Dream.

Claude Monet


Claude Monet (France, November 14, 1840—December 5, 1926) is remembered as the founder of the Impressionist school of painting. In fact, the name of the movement was taken from one of his early paintings, Impression, soleil levant (Impression, Sunrise).

Impression, soleil levant, by Claude Monet

He always wanted to be an artist. As a boy, he drew charcoal caricatures, which he sold for ten or twenty francs each. His mother, a singer, supported his artistic dreams. His father wanted him to take over the family business, selling groceries and shipping supplies.

Water lilies, by Claude Monet

An early influence was Eugéne Boudin, whom he met on the beaches of Normandy, and who mentored him in oils and plein air (outdoor painting) techniques. While other young painters copied works of the masters, Monet preferred to work directly from subjects. He was particularly interested in how changes of light affected how things appeared. He often painted the same scenes multiple times, in different seasons and at different times of day, to catalog how the differing light affected the colors.

Water Lilies and Japanese Bridge by Claude Monet

The traditional way that painting was taught in France in his day did not appeal to Monet. He preferred to dab the paint on, placing different colors next to each other, allowing the eye to blend them rather than blending them on the palette. He and his friends (among them the likes of Manet, Renoir, Degas, Pizarro, and Cézanne) broke with the Salon de Paris and put on their own exhibitions.

Weeping Willow, by Claude Monet

Monet married his first wife, Camille, in 1870. She was the subject of several of his paintings, and they had two sons together. She died in 1878. A friend’s estranged wife, Alice, helped him raise his children along with her six.

Camille Monet on a Garden Bench, by Claude Monet

In 1883 Monet rented a property on two acres in Giverny. He and his extended family improved the gardens, and Monet did some of his best painting there. His dealer was very successful selling his paintings, and Monet bought the property in 1890. When Alice’s husband passed away, Monet married her.

The Cliffs at Etretat by Claude Monet

Click here to see Claude Monet in action.

Creative Juice #212

Creative Juice #212

I much prefer these uplifting, creative articles to the news these days.

Creative Juice #202

Creative Juice #202


Wow! Creative stuff this week.

Index-Card-a-Day and World Watercolor Month Wrap Up


I’ve been participating in the Index-Card-a-Day challenge, and World Watercolor Month, which ended yesterday. Here are my final cards.

The ICAD Day 54 prompt was outline. This is my interpretation:


Day 55’s prompt was paisley. I painted a wet-on-wet watercolor background and drew on top of it.


World Watercolor Month’s prompt for Day 27 was shine:


ICAD’s Day 58 prompt was tea set:


Day 29’s prompt for World Watercolor Month was yesterday. My response is based on the Lennon-McCartney song. This is the most liked post on my Instagram page this week:


For Day 30, I decided to fiddle with an idea for a logo for ARHtistic License:


I went off-prompt for the final day of both challenges. Months ago I tore a page out of a magazine that had a picture of paper plates printed with folk-art florals, which inspired this. It’s my personal favorite of the week and possibly of the entire challenge.


All in all, I completed 54 cards. Technically I only participated on 51 of the 61 days, but one day I painted 4 cards.


I love doing challenges because it stretches me, encourages me to try new things, learn things I didn’t know before. I hope you’ll join me next year.