What is Impresssionism? You probably are familiar with Claude Monet, one of the most popular and reproduced artists from the beginnings of impressionist painting. The subject matter in his paintings are identifiable, but the fine details are suggested, not painted with laborious little strokes. Impressionism creates a mood, a feeling about the subject matter. Impressionism gives ample room for the viewer’s imagination to fill in the details.
Impressionism is a fun way to go about a painting. It frees up your mind and your hand to try new effects with splashes of color with broader, less defined strokes of the brush. It’s a great way to go about a painting when you just want to relax, and feel playful and adventurous. It works best for me after I’ve worked really hard on a painting and need a break from the concentration. I start the impressionistic project with a feeling of, “Oh what the heck, let’s just see what THIS will do!”
That’s when the fun begins. No expectations. No audience. I’m painting just for the fun of discovery and adventure. I paint MY mood, MY feelings, using MY colors, whatever is in my imagination. Anything goes!
I’m always happy with the result, because I’ve expressed myself and have had fun doing it. It will never hang in The Louvre, but for my own personal experience and expression, it is just as important as any artwork that does!
In case you didn’t know how to answer the question about this photo in the earlier blog, I’ll give you the answer. The beautiful colors and abstract shapes in the photo above are of the Swan Nebula. Gorgeous art in space! To think all that breath-taking heavenly art just hangs in space while we go about our grocery shopping! What a disconnect. It’s mind-boggling.
And the photo below is of the Northern Lights, also called aurora borealis. The photo was taken in Alaska. Another great example of Art in the Heavens. As if the stars, moon, and comets weren’t enough! What a show of magnificence!
Makes me realize beauty is all around us, all the time. Just need to open our eyes.
What is Abstract Art Anyway?
Abstract, as opposed to representational or realistic type art, is the most free-form variety of colors, textures, media, shapes, composition! It’s fun to view and even more fun to create! Like any other style of art, your preferences will influence which pieces you call “art” and which you wrinkle your nose at! I’ve wrinkled my nose and furrowed my brow at abstract art that doesn’t strike my fancy. You probably have, too. However, other pieces capture my imagination and draw me into the painting as I feast on the colors and try to guess what the artist was thinking or feeling when he or she created it.
There are oodles of examples of abstract art all around us. Look into the center of a flower. Notice the bands and sweeps of color in the sunset sky. Look into a microscope. Look into a telescope. Abstract art surrounds us whether as tiny as an amoeba or as majestic as the Northern Lights. Get up close and eliminate the bigger picture to find abstract art in a small space by using a one-inch square cut out of paper, a tiny window. Changing shapes of shadows are a great source of abstract inspiration, too.
The fun of painting abstractly is the spontaneity of reacting to the colors and happenings on your watercolor paper, or canvas, without the over-hanging dread of “what if this doesn’t come out looking like a…. (fill in the blank!)” It is totally relaxing because it is done without having to create something in an exacting way. It’s creating with the freedom of enjoying the colors, angles, shapes that appear on the paper or canvas. It can almost take on a life of its own.
Play with it. Have fun! Can you guess what either of these two photos is?
(Find answer, if you’re stumped.)