Monet's Painting Technique



Some of Monet’s paintings from this early period show that he made initial sketches in charcoal on the canvas before applying paint layers. No preparatory drawing could be identified under the paint layers of this work. Instead, the composition of the painting was marked out using paint. These initial lines of paint were applied in narrow continuous brush-strokes. The blue and green horizontal strokes across the centre of painting, were applied during this stage indicate the edge of the river and the beginning of land.

Blocking In


The main fields of colour were blocked-in using pastel tones applied with dry and undiluted paint (see image on the left). Monet’s handling of paint at this stage was loose and rapid, leaving some of the priming visible. The area below the horizon was initially left unpainted.


Paint Handling and Brushwork

Technical study has revealed the way in which Monet applied the detail and upper paint layers in this work.

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Monet's signature

Monet’s Signature

Although Argenteuil Basin with a Single Sailboat, has a ‘sketchy’ or unfinished appearance, it was signed by Monet to indicate its completion. Often, Monet signed his painting in black paint or crayon. In this painting, however, he used the same translucent, bright red, paint as he had applied in the details of the trees. A number of other paintings by Monet from this time, located in the Musée D’Orsay collection in Paris, are signed using the same colour paint.