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*April / October ’18, Continuous Exhibition, Masterclass; Maison / Atelier Pierre in Beynac et Cazenac
24220 Dordogne France
Class & MASTERCLASS – Learning , Impressionist techniques by Pierre
French painters/Class & Masterclass – learning /who paved the way for impressionism include the romantic colorist Eugène Delacroix, the leader of the realists Gustave Courbet, and painters of the Barbizon school such as Théodore Rousseau.
The Impressionists learned a lot from the work of Johan Barthold Jongkind, Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot and Eugène Boudin, who painted from nature a direct and spontaneous style that represented Impressionism and befriended the younger artists.
A number of identifiable techniques and work habits contributed to the innovative style of the impressionists.
Although these methods have been used by previous artists – and often stand out in the work of artists such as Frans Hals, Diego Velázquez, Peter Paul Rubens, John Constable and J.M. Turner – the Impressionists were the first to use them all together, and with such consistency.
These techniques include:
Short, thick paint marks quickly capture the essence of the subject, rather than the details. The paint is often impasto applied.
Colors are applied side by side with as little mixing as possible, a technique that uses the principle of simultaneous contrast to make the color look more vivid on the viewer.
Grayscale and dark tones are produced by mixing complementary colors.
Wet paint is placed in wet paint without waiting for subsequent applications to dry, with softer edges and color blending.
Impressionist paintings do not use the transparency of thin paint films (glazes) that former artists carefully manipulated to produce effects. The surface of the impressionistic paint is usually opaque.
The paint is applied on a white or light-colored background. Earlier, painters often used dark gray or strongly colored -( optically gray )-grounds.
The play of natural light is emphasized. Much attention is paid to the reflection of colors from object to object. Painters often worked in the evening to make effets de soir – the shadow effects of evening or dusk.
In paintings made in the open air (outdoors), shadows are bravely painted with the blue of the sky when it is reflected on surfaces, giving a feeling of freshness that was not previously depicted in painting. (Blue shadows on snow inspired the technique.)
New technology played a role in the development of the style.
Impressionists used the introduction of pre-mixed paint in cannulas in the middle of the century (which looks like modern toothpaste tubes), allowing artists to work spontaneously, both inside and outside.
Earlier painters made their own paint individually, by grinding dry pigment powders and mixing them with linseed oil, which were then stored in animal blows.
Many lively synthetic pigments were commercially available to artists for the first time in the 19th century. These include cobalt blue, viridian, cadmium yellow and synthetic ultramarine blue, all of which were in use in 1840 before Impressionism.
The Impressionists’ way of painting made bold use of these pigments, and of even newer colors such as cerulean blue, which became commercially available to artists in the 1860s.
The progress of the impressionists towards a brighter style of painting was gradual.
During the 1860s, Monet and Renoir sometimes painted on canvases prepared with the traditional red-brown or gray ground, -( optically gray )-.
In the 1870s, Monet, Renoir and Pissarro usually chose to paint on the grounds of a lighter gray or beige color, which acted as a middle tone -( optically gray )- in the finished painting.
By the 1880s, some of the Impressionists had preferred white or slightly pale white soils and no longer allowed the ground color -( optically gray )- to play an important role in the finished painting.
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Light and color, working in the open air
In the technical development, the Impressionists especially noticed their treatment of contrast, color and light.
Much attention was paid to the different shades in changing light and to the mutual relationships of the color values, which were often reproduced in complementary tones on a finely divided scale from light to dark. Motives, shapes and outlines (lines) were subordinated to them.
Moreover, the use of color became brighter and more intense, coinciding with an increase in color in the outside world: chemical processes had led to enormous growth in the availability of dyes.
This led to an increase in colorful clothes on the street, for example, but also to a greater availability of all kinds of pigments, often also new ones, such as chrome green. Black was rarely used.
The elementary colors were often applied wet-on-wet in loosely juxtaposed tests on canvas, so that they formed the desired color variations remotely and thus allowed a more subtle nuance.
Important here was no longer the material accuracy of the forms in nature, but rather the colorful solution of sun, light and air.
The ready-made availability of paint in tubes, after the invention by Geoffrey Rand in 1841, also promoted working ‘en plein air’, which was another aspect that typified the Impressionist painter.
Impressionists wanted to portray the ‘perceived’ directly as it was shown to them and as they experienced the impression themselves on the spot. They were always found on the street or somewhere in the landscape, at least outside.