At the Marec Inn, where he was staying, Monet was advised to visit the Grand Phare and the Grotte de l’Étoile. He goes there on foot, alone. He finds Port Coton an interesting place to paint, which immediately makes him think of Japanese prints, very much in vogue at the time (Van Gogh was crazy about them) and the needles of Étretat, from which he returns.
He works on the rock and the sea with very little sky in order to express all the strength or even the wildness of the landscapes. He chooses different framings, seeks to paint the structure of the rock, like a sculpture, which is new to him.
“In the morning, the weather was great, but around 9 o’clock, the clouds come, then wind and the terrible rain.”
So he was “forced” to work in series, as the weather and light changed so often. Belle-Île imposed this new method on him, which he would later adopt for his other subjects such as cathedrals or haystacks.
“To really paint the sea, you have to see it every day, at all hours and in the same place to know the life of it there; so I redo the same patterns up to 4 and 6 times even…“
Monet is truly the “inventor” of the Port Coton tourist site. Upon arrival, there are no roads or Manor Houses, the landscape is flat and open. There is only the Great Lighthouse and the Semaphore of Talut…which he makes disappear from his paintings by the way!