IMPRESSIONISM VERSUS REALISM IN YOUR PAINTING

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     There are really good artists in each genre.  We can learn to do both.  Is one better than the other? NO, it is just a matter of which you prefer.  There are plenty of arguments on each side as to which is better art, but quite frankly there is room for both in the art world.  I will say that from what I see these days, impressionism seems to win more awards in the art world if that is what you are after.

     That said,  it boils down to which style of art that you as the artist want to create and learning each is completely different.  It has been said that all art starts as impressionistic and realism builds on that start.  That is true, but I believe there is a mind set that also comes into play.

     When you set out to create an impressionistic painting, you must think almost entirely in SHAPES.  You literally squint until your eyes are almost closed and then create the shapes and colors you see.  This is especially true in plein air painting.  One has to be careful NOT to get too literal or realistic in creating the scene.  You are going for the feel instead.  If you look closely at an impressionist painting you would see that nothing is actually clear. Rather just a jumble of brushstrokes, but when you step back, it takes on the look of trees, buildings, etc. I personally love the loose brush strokes and the romantic feel that impressionists achieve.  As a result, I have been studying the technique.  I have a painting below that I did as an impressionism.

     On the other hand,  realism or even more so, hyperrealism is a form of art that makes the piece look like a photograph!  Mine is somewhere in between.  I have traditionally done more realistic painting, but I cannot do hyper realistic art, nor do I want to.  I recently finished a painting of a creek in Paris, Kentucky I named "STONEY CREEK" (real name is Stoner Creek)  It is a realistic piece with lots of detail, you can even see the rocks under the water.  I love it and am very proud of it.  But it made me realize that it would, in my opinion, have been just as beautiful had it been an impressionistic painting.  In fact, I would like to try doing it as such. It is below with the impressionistic painting.  Compare the two and see if you like one style over the other.  Personally, I think it is simply up to the preference of the viewer.

     If you are interested in learning how to do impressionism,  I would recommend following the artist Kyle Buckland on YouTube.  He calls his site THE ARTFUL SOULS.  He gives lessons in a series and he is easy to follow.  If you want to go to his website it is: KYLEBUCKLAND.COM. Another  artist calls herself a "Classic Impressionist".  She is Jessica Henry: JESSICAHENRYFINEART.COM.  Both of them are plein air artists.

     If you are interested in realism, or hyperrealism, I would recommend following Michael James Smith on YouTube.  He paints every tree leaf!  his website is MICHAELJAMESSMITHFINEART.COM.  Both of these men are really good and are also great teachers!  I follow both.  One more artist I can recommend is Chuck Black of CHUCKBLACKART.COM.  He is also a realist, but his paintings have more color and romanticism which I for one prefer.  The first two artists work in oils, and Chuck Black works in acrylics and oils.  But all three can be copied in acrylics if you prefer.

  Below is a realistic painting.  As you can see, even the rocks under the water are visible and distinct. 

"STONEY CREEK"
11 x 14

"WINTER SOLSTICE"
11 X 14

This painting is purely impressionistic.  If you look closely all you will really see are brush strokes, not specific detail, but overall when you step back you see the barn, trees, and snow.  That's what impressionism is all about.

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