Impressions of An Impressionist

I dream of painting and then I paint my dream.
-Vincent van Gogh

The Starry Night Vincent Van Gogh
The Starry Night- Vincent van Gogh

So, I’m sure you have figured out what this post is going to be about. Yes, I have finished my very first painting.  And I do not want to boast, but I am very happy with how it turned out.  The first few days that I was painting I thought that it was a lost cause, but as I spent more time and tried a few more technique it really started to take shape.

I decided that I wanted to go with a more impressionistic style of painting.  I did not even know what that was until I started doing some research.  As you can guess from the name, Impressionist painting is more of your impression of what something looks like instead of trying to create something that looks like a photograph.  I like the style because it gives me the opportunity to play with color and really paint things as I see them and not necessarily as they are in real life. When I was in grade school, I remembered studying various artists in history.  I remembered that Vincent van Gogh was an impressionist, and I really do enjoy many of his paintings. Starry night is one of the most famous, and I love it because stars have always been one of my favorite things that God created.  I am also very excited because I just found out that the Art Institute in Chicago is going to be showcasing van Gogh’s work starting next month.  Brandon said we could go because they have a free Thursday evening.

Ok, so now to show you my painting.  I took pictures at several different stages.  I will try my best to describe to you want I did. I learned a lot from Will Kemp art school.  He has a website here and a YouTube channel with videos.  He is British which makes it all the more fun to listen to him give instructions.

Here is a list of the supplies I used:

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The first thing that I did was to apply a colored ground.  It is a thin layer of paint watered down and applied like a stain.

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Next, I sketched my design for my art.  This is only necessary for the more detailed parts of the painting. (I was happy because I did not have to trace this, I was able to follow the skyline pattern from looking at a picture)

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I started with the blues because it made up a majority of the painting. I used Ultramarine Blue mixed with black for the first color, plain Ultramarine Blue for the second, and Ultramarine Blue mixed with white for the third color.

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I added two different mixtures of Lemon Yellow and white for the next two colors. And then I added Vermilion mixed with Lemon Yellow and white for the last color.

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For the skyline, I decided to do a mixed of Phthalocyanine Blue and black.  It looked a lot better than a flat black and it gave a more shadowy look.

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The final step was the most fun.  I went back and took colors from the different sections and added them to the sections above and below. I used small brush strokes in different directions.  I also added a few new shades that were similar to my original palette. This really helped to blend everything together.

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So that is my very first completed painting!  I really enjoyed the process, and I will be painting more in the weeks and months to come. Comment below or send me an email if you have further questions about my process.

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