How to Paint Impressionism
- Sitting in one position during the entire painting session or not viewing the painting in any other way.
- Painting onto a white support, causing pale colours to appear dark by comparison and resulting in a pale painting.
- Over-mixing the colours until they are completely even.
- Not using vibrant colours or tempering bright colours with browns and greys.
- Overworking the painting until it looses life.
When striving to emulate the Impressionists, the following painting practices may be followed.
- Use only hog brushes no smaller than no.6, to force the artist to use economy with brush marks and avoid linear detail.
- Use every tonal value from pale to very dark within the painting. Working on a toned ground, such as grey or neutral colour, will give the true tonal value of each colour.
- Half close the eyes to simplify the view and cut out irrelevant detail
- Don’t use black to darken colours but the opposing colour. Red for instance, can be used to darken green.
- Don’t over-mix colours. Allow colour streaks to remain on the brush on application.
- Get up and view the painting from a distance. Turn it upside down or through a reflection to reboot the brain on what is vital about the painting and what is irrelevant.
- I believe every painting is allocated a limited number of brush marks before it becomes overworked. Make every brushstroke count. Allow imperfections to remain within the brushstrokes, and as soon as the artist starts to “fuss” over the painting, stop.
Don’t be afraid to use colours neat from the tube. Juxtaposing them against neutral colours will make them appear more vibrant rather than cheap. Monet’s sunsets, for instance, contained lots of neutrals which provided the stage for the bright colours. In my Youtube clip below, I used bright violets and blues on the lavender fields. Notice the contrast against the yellows and pinks in the background.
External Links on Painting Impressionist Style