One of the strongest influences on my paintings has been the Impressionists. They captured the essence and feeling of subjects in short broken strokes, which conveyed form more than detail and expressed the quality of light on a scene. Impressionists relied on pure pigments placed adjacent to each other on the canvas, so they mix visually in the viewer’s eye.
Unlike the somber earth tones of earlier painters, Impressionists embraced bright colors, even using them in shadows and highlights.
The name Impressionism arose from Claude Monet’s Impression, Sunrise painting. Critics described Monet’s early forays into impressionism as sketch-like and unfinished. You can see the difference between one of Monet’s early paintings (Rue de la Bavolle), when he focused on the literal aspects of his subjects, to a later painting (Poppy Field in Summertime), where he embraced the rich colors we know him for.
For an Impressionist to paint from nature is not to paint the subject, but to realize sensations. Paul Cezanne
Impressionism influence on my paintings
You can see my attempt to capture the effect of light in Trio of Trees and Dusk Over Taos. In both paintings, the setting December sun in New Mexico inspired me. From its low vantage point in the sky, shortly before slipping below the horizon, the sun transformed bare, brown trees into fiery red (Trio of Trees) and luminescent white (Dusk Over Taos) objects against a darkening sky.
In Dusk Over Taos, you can also see how I juxtaposed multiple colors from the rest of the painting to create the brown, barren ground in the immediate foreground, in the spirit of Monet’s haystack paintings.
Impressionism was formally launched in 1874 by 30 artists, including Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Camille Pissarro, Paul Cezanne, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Alfred Sisley and Berthe Morisot.
Do you like Impressionism? What do you like about it and who is your favorite Impressionist painter? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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