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Monets Haystack

“Haystacks” or “Grainstacks” is the title of a series of paintings by Claude Monet. This is a set of primarily twenty five paintings from hay gatherings taken from different times of the day and with different weather conditions and seasons.


It is an extremely interesting composition ideas for all us artist to emulate and all it needs is a subject that changes dramatically with tone and colour as the day progresses. Monet was fascinated with these ideas and would spend much of his painting life copying the way light changes would affect his work. Whether it was landscapes, water lilies or buildings, he would sit in front of his subject and produce “en plein air” reproductions, sometimes working on six or up to twelve canvasses during the day and often starting as early as 3.30 in the morning.


Most of Monet’s paintings from 1883 were produced within a few miles of his home in Giverney, including his “Haystacks” which were situated just outside his door. He had originally wanted to paint only two images at first but this soon changed into a large series of thematic repetition which was to influence his work for the rest of his life.

HaystackHe had to paint extremely fast in order to get the most out of his subjects and although many books refer to his continuation over a long period at a certain time of day, I am convinced that he spent sometimes only a few hours to complete many of these canvasses for if you try and copy these works they can only be done with the greatest of speed.

Monet was the first painter to start the idea of thematic reproduction from what may have been regarded by many as rather mundane subjects; however it proved to be a very successful financially for him and I have chosen three of these images to reproduce for you here. 

Try and find a similar subject that may be used as a series, for example Skies, Sea, Trees, Rivers etc, the list is endless, and paint for a suggested two hours and change the canvas.  Like Monet you will find the light change especially inEnglandinspirational and by the end of the day you will have exhausted yourself mentally but what a way to change your painting style or ideas.


HaystackThe Monet reproduction copies here are all from the internet images provided for us all. The only problem is that with this source, the colour for his work can vary so much that sometimes you wonder if you are looking at the same picture.

 I have painted in acrylic and not oils which Monet would have used, but I am sure that the great master would have enjoyed this medium greatly because of its speed of drying and strong colour.

 Try and work with as many colours as you would normally use, but avoid black. Ultramarine Blue, Alizarin Crimson and Viridian Green will give you the strongest of dark tones without this deadening quality. 

Above all get out there in the sun or any weather for that matter and start your own series paintings, you will love it.