The Use of Color in Impressionism

impressionismImpressionism is such a unique painting technique because of the amount of paint used and the way that it brings out the color in the painting.

Impressionists were known for their extensive use of complementary colors in order to bring depth to an object and even shadows. This oftentimes made the object in question look livelier and more realistic. They sought to capture not only the look of what they were looking at, but the atmosphere as well.

Because of the more hurried brush strokes that they took, the paintings had more energy about them because they were trying to capture their subjects as accurately as possible. This movement at the end of the 19th century began in France and shined the spotlight on painted like Claude Monet, Pierre Auguste Renoir and Edgar Degas.

Color was often times used not only reflect what the painter saw but they also used it to demonstrate the effects of weather conditions on landscapes. The “bursts” of color could be referred to as “broken” or “fragmented.” Instead of coloring shadows with impressionismthe color mixed with brown or black, they would instead use colors like blue or purple. Or, for example, if they were doing a landscape and needed a shadow for something green, they might just use a dark green or work in other colors as well.

Impressionists worked to incorporate color into everything they painted, because that is how they typically saw the world. Up close the dabs might seem a little blurry, but once you step further away from the painting, shapes and forms would appear and make a little more sense!

Impressionism was a movement that was not widely accepted at first. For many who viewed the art, it seemed unfinished or sloppy. Some even found the color combinations to be “too much” since it went against all the teachings of the French Academy of Fine Arts. Their use of color broke away from tradition, including the use of an unprimed canvas in order to give a brighter look to the painting and their striking use of complementary colors.

At Hunakai Studio, we understand that sometimes in order to stay true to yourself and express your vision, you have to go against the grain and try something different.