Monday, October 4

An Artist's Struggle With Contemporary Impressionism

My Acrylic With Which I Struggle

I am working on an acrylic, the motif of which I showed you a week ago—you remember, the tree, the road, the windmill?

I will tell you about my struggle in hopes that other painters will feel a sense of kinship in that many artists do struggle on occasion.

I am working really hard to make a pleasing painting, but I’m struggling. The difficulty is—I’m not sure just what the difficulty is. I think that’s part of the problem. I can’t decide which is worse, not knowing what the problem is, or knowing what the problem is, but not what to do about it.

Let me see if I can explain what I think the problems are.

Well, acrylic is the medium. In my experience that means a couple of things. One, I am painting pretty darn quickly even using a humidifier/retarder to slow down the drying time, which seems instantaneous, but luckily you can immediately paint over it.

Two, no matter how limited a palette I start out with, I invariably end up adding a tube color to my palette. Most artists say that is a no-no, but it works better for me than my mixing just a few limited colors.

Whatever, that’s just acrylic. But, in addition I am still having trouble rendering the style that I want or at least have in my mind’s eye.

“And what style is that,” you ask?

OK, I’m going for contemporary impressionism.

To me, contemporary impressionism is a cross between regular, old Monet Impressionism and representational, realistic-looking art. That is, it’s not so purely impressionistic and loose that you can almost see the oozing light and atmosphere, but yet it’s not so realistic that you would mistake it for photo-realism.

Does that make sense? It makes sense to me, but I struggle. Look at today’s image.

On the impressionistic side, I’m painting soft and vanishing edges and a horizon so hazy you barely notice it. On the other hand, when I try to paint the tree(s) and fence posts in the same gauze-y way, it doesn’t look right, so I painted those more in focus. (The windmill has not been painted yet in case you're squinting to look for it.)

You know, I can’t even find a definition of contemporary impressionism when I Google it. Maybe that’s the problem.

Oh well, it’s my struggle. Maybe I’ll finish the painting to my liking in a couple of days.

Until next blog…


  1. Thanks! I worked on it some more and feel better about it today, although it's still not finished. I need to work on the color of the shadows--always tricky.