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Water Lilies
The story behind Monet's Water Lilies and my project

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Claude Monet (1840-1926)


Nymphéas, 1915, Musée Marmottan Monet

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An output from my generative project

Who was Claude Monet?

Claude Monet also known as Oscar-Claude Monet, Claude Oscar Monet or just Monet, was born on November 14, 1840 on the fifth floor of 45 rue Laffitte, in the ninth arrondissement of Paris. Monet was one of the main founders of the impressionist style, and the term Impressionism is derived from the title of his painting Impression, Sunrise.

He was the second son of Claude-Adolphe and Louise-Justine Aubrée Monet, both of them second-generation Parisians. In 1845, his family moved to Le Havre in Normandy. His father wanted him to go into the family grocery store business, but Claude Monet wanted to become an artist. His mother was a singer.
On the first of April 1851, Monet entered the Le Havre secondary school of the arts.

In around 1858, he met fellow artist Eugene Boudin. Monet thought of Boudin as his master, whom "he owed everything to" for his later success. This mentor taught Monet how important it was to be attuned to the light and the seasons. As a result, his art through his entire career is a literal reflection of the atmospheric effects that shaped his paintings.
Monet loved painting en plein air, which means out of doors.

Water Lilies (Nymphéas)

Water Lilies is not the name of just one painting, but rather a series of approximately 250 oil paintings created by the artist (which he worked on from the late 1890s until his death in 1926). Many of the works were painted while Monet suffered from cataracts.

This series was inspired by the water garden that he created in Giverny, Normandy. His last works resulted in the large panels donated by Monet to the French state in 1922 and which have been on display at the Musée de l'Orangerie since 1927.

Many people don't know but part of this series also has a political nature. This is because the First World War was still ongoing when Monet started this project of 8 panels (which are on display at the Musée de l'Orangerie), he declined to include a horizon line in any of them (just like the war without a horizon, beginning or end), leaving viewers in a vast field of water, light and emptiness. Some sources say he could hear the sound of of gunfire from 50 kilometers away from his house in Giverny while painting.

Throughout the series, two types of composition were defined by the artist. The first includes the edge of the lake and its vegetation, and the second, plays on the emptiness, and includes only the surface of the water with flowers and reflections of the surrounding vegetation and trees.

The second composition was the choice for my project.

Water Lilies as a generative project

This series by Monet has always been one of my favorite works, and in my opinion, one of the most beautiful in the entire history of art.
The way he captures the essence of his garden is phenomenal, not to mention the remarkable difference in the works over the years, getting better and better, even with his impaired vision due to cataracts.

In this generative work I had the difficult task of trying to bring out the powerful impact that Monet's oil works cause, giving the viewer a deep sense of immersion.

Building the project

My first mission was to find a way to reproduce the water lily leaves, as well as Monet's, for that I used curveVertex() and random() to create the desired shape and after that I used the stroke of this shape to cause the appearance of loose brushstrokes.

After that I started to create more models in different formats, and together with this I started creating the flowers, which are formed by a base with transparency and by "messy" lines in different layers to simulate the brushstrokes, using different shades of colors to cause a light and shadow effect.


My reference, Water-Lilies, 1914-1917 (Detail)

Creating new leaves formats and starting to plan positions.

Here I already had the leaves and flowers prepared, so I started to define pre-positions for the reflection of the sky and for the water lilies.

The work can be generated in 3 different formats, Square, Portrait and Landscape, and each of them has its own presets, which are more than one different preset for each format.

The background of the project (which is the reflection of the vegetation and trees around the lake) went through several changes until it reached something that I liked, here are two versions, in the second and final one, I used different shades to give a more natural effect, trying to simulate the different shades of the original brushstrokes.

For the background and reflection of the sky, I used the same algorithm to simulate longer, spaced, and loose strokes of a larger brush.

So it was time to create the Weeping Willow leaves and their reflection in the water of the lake, for that I created a pattern of shapes and then added some variables, the pattern can be repeated horizontally and vertically countless times, forming shorter or longer leaves, and it can also cover the entire width of the output, only half or less than 1/3.

There is also the possibility that the 'Detail' feature is true, if that happens the output will have a "zoom", which also has different pre-definitions so that the water lilies do not appear outside the width/height of the canvas. Here we can also see the reflection of the flowers in the lake.

Weeping Willow leaves and the 'Detail' feature

There is a feature called 'Day period', they are: Sunrise, Morning, Noon, Afternoon, Sunset, Evening.

Each of them affects the chosen palette as well as the shade of the flowers, because as the sun moves during the day it changes the position of the shadows, and it couldn't be different in this work.

As we can see below, in periods of the day 'Sunrise' and 'Sunset', the shadows stretch laterally, while in periods such as 'Noon' and 'Evening' they are centralized.

This was a brief way of presenting a little about the creation process of this work. It took more than two months working on this project, with a lot of research, study and hard work, I hope you liked the result! :)

“Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love.”
― Claude Monet

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