How the French impressionists are leaving their mark on this artist.
There's no doubt about it, but a trip to Paris, Giverny and the Charvin paint shop is having an impact on my painting. But those French impressionists have been having an impact for years!
On a recent trip to Paris I went to an exhibition about the French impressionists period of exile in London. The artists fled France during the Franco-Prussian war and found themselves in England. Confronted with a foreign culture and a change in climate the exiles deployed their creative energy in new ways, seizing on the opportunities offered by the capital at the height of the British empire. With the encouragement of a few artists friends and particularly bold collectors, the painters from France contributed to the British art scene.
I adored seeing the variety of work produced in France before they left juxtaposed with the work they produced whilst in London. But the moment when I virtually leapt for joy was in the mock up of a studio where I discovered the remarkable similarity in my favoured materials.
Does that make me traditional because I'm using materials over 100 years old, or does it make me terribly modern because only the most radical artists were painting in this way?
The illustration below is so very useful to show some of the stages of a painting from raw linen, sized and primed, underpainting, layered painting, impasto painting and varnish. The colours are gorgeous and it's fair to say, after a lengthy visit to an art shop, I came home with most of them in my bag.
My process is similar, but I love the linen canvas so much I have devised a way of priming is with my own homemade see-through primer so that the linen shows through. Learning to paint, is so enjoyable, it may take a lifetime to master, but it's so great to try. I love it when galleries provide this kind of an insight for visitors.
I've been working on some commissions since returning, which I can't include here, however The painting at the top of the page of the dancers shows some of the blues I bought in Paris. In addition to a complete change in subject matter. Degas' dancers got to me. I had to do some dancing.
I have also got a flamingo on the go, as I simply couldn't resist getting out the beautiful array of pinks and yellow I bought in Paris.
Yet again, I leave a gallery invigorated, a city rejuvenated and an I'm full of inspiration once more!
If you're inspired and would like to learn more about oil painting click here
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