How to Paint in the Impressionism Style

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Paint in the Impressionism Style
Paint in the Impressionism Style

How to Paint in the Impressionism Style. The impressionist style of painting was a new look at visual art in the late 19th Century. A group of painters began to focus on the sensationalism of a scene. The result was one of the most unique art movements in history.

Things You'll Need

  • Oil paint
  • Canvas

Look at Painting Like an Impressionist

Set up your supplies outside. Not all impressionists' paintings were done outside, but most were, and the artists made a point of freeing themselves from the studio setting.

Look for unusual weather and interesting skies. Impressionists loved to paint the way different types of natural light affected objects in their paintings.

Study the way natural light hits objects, especially when the effect is fleeting. For example, watch how light bounces along the edges of waves in the water or flickers when moving objects, like leaves, block direct sunlight.

Consider how movement should look in a painting. In a photograph, a running child will be caught in a stationary pose, but in a painting, effects can be utilized to give the viewer the impression of movement over time.

Choose ordinary subject matter. Impressionists liked painting scenes of everyday life. Do not set up a scene that you would like to paint. Find something natural and unplanned.

Paint in the Impressionism Style

Paint quickly. Contrary to the slow step by step process of studio painting, impressionists liked to finish their paintings in one sitting.

Do not blend colors. Advancements in photography at the time taught the impressionists that light is made up of a variety of colors. Instead of blending blue and yellow, impressionists would put blue paint next to yellow paint to create the optical illusion of green.

Use short, quick brush strokes. Paintings of the impressionism movement often dried raised up from the canvas, in the impasto style. Detail was not as important as the initial impression of a scene.

Do not use strong lines. Dark colors are placed next to light colors to create the illusion of an edge. Wet paint is placed next to wet paint to encourage color mixing and soft edges.

Avoid black paint. True pieces of impressionism had very little black paint. When dark paint is required, mix gray paint with a strong color for the impression of black.

Tips & Warnings

  • No two impressionists painted in the same style. Cezanne and Van Gogh would never be confused for each other, but both incorporated the ideas of impressionism into their work. Feel free to develop your own style.
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