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Painting the essence rather than the actual – moving from Realism to Impressionism

This is a section of a new painting of mine that will be appearing on the member’s site later this year.

An afternoon on the river001

As many of you know I am a great lover of impressionism and my plan is to deviate from time to time from my usual detailed pictures to more atmospheric paintings. I thought I would share some of the techniques and effects that I use in producing this kind of work with you.

For starters all attempts at creating detail goes out of the window, what is required is the essence of the subject at the expense of the details. Of course it is better for me to show these effects on video as you would understand better how I produce them, however I don’t always give a full explanation in the narrative as I am too busy concentrating on the work.

The idea as I have said is to produce the essence father than the actual, when you watch me on video creating these effects it looks like I am doing dots and squiggles for faces, hair, clothing etc. well that is exactly what I am doing.

The difference is that the subjects seem to look real and recognisable from a distance, it is only from close up that that they appear as dots and squiggles.

So how is this done and why can I pull it off?

All the great impressionist artists have one thing in common they are all great draughtsmen and women. They started out learning the skills of proportions and perspective and were more than capable of drawing realistically.

With this skill under their belt they could then embark on the impressionistic approach knowing this would give them greater satisfaction by producing the essence and not worrying too much about the finer details. There is a freedom in this kind of work which allows more expression of feeling that with detailed work.

They are able to apply those dots and squiggles with confidence knowing in advance how the subject will turn out. Although I am a long way from meeting their standard I am able to follow the rules and produce a fair representation of impressionism. The thing that keeps me going is that with impressionistic painting I am being constantly challenged and one day, maybe, I will crack it.

So can you do this too?

Yes you certainly can however you will need to learn to draw in detail before you can try your hand at Impressionism.

This is where our member’s site is so valuable, we teach you to draw and paint what you see, and, with enough practice you too will want to paint the essence rather than the actual. Believe me when I say once you make that step all your future artwork will be at another level both in presentation and enjoyment.

By | 2018-03-15T15:13:12+00:00 March 7th, 2016|Landscapes, Tips & Techniques|0 Comments