Impressionism Painting Reflection

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For my final piece, I decided to use different techniques I explored in this unit to recreate a photo of Gubei Watertown’s night view. I decided to paint this scene because I wanted to share/capture my favorite memory. I hoped my painting to convey tranquility and loneliness to the viewers. To convey this, I considered utilizing lighting/compositions and playing with colors to find the right mood.

Before creating the piece, I studied impressionism pieces and brush techniques to develop my unique artistic style. I wanted to try using one of my favorite artists, Gustave Caillebotte’s soft and loose brush strokes, but I learned that his disordered look and hurried brush strokes don’t match well with the night view. Thus, I practiced using different acrylic painting techniques and basic brushstrokes to find the styles that will express the calmness of the night view. After practicing, I realized the fast and small brushstrokes I created are similar to brushstrokes used in Sunrise by Claude Monet and Bridge at Avilleneuve-la-Garenne by Alfred Sisley. I was inspired by their focus on texture and the fall of light, especially the focus changing from the subject.

To create my piece, I started with adjusting the color of the image. The original image was very unlighted, which clearly didn’t express the feelings of peacefulness. Thus, I set the exposure and highlight to the highest and shadows to the lightest.

Then, I drew a sketch using a reference image. Starting by building up the layers, I made further objects lighter and closer objects darker to show the perspective.

I chose to mix blue and black to paint the background because blue is a primary color, also known as a calming color, and black evokes emotions such as quietness and stillness. Also, I colored the lamp red and added some lighting effects on the small building because I wanted to include Chinese moods, and the amount of lighting affects the mood of the painting.

When painting the background, I realized the white figure looks awkward in the middle of the painting and also doesn’t convey any meaning. I decided to change this figure to an actual person reading a book because impressionism is scenes of modern life that focus on everyday people’s lives.

One challenge I faced when creating the artwork is making the painting look realistic. Because I usually paint contemporary art, impressionism’s natural style was not familiar to me. However, I tried contrasting the range in brightness, making the edges look sharp and soft, and using warm and cool colors. Although the painting still doesn’t look too photorealistic, the line, shape, and tone look more natural.




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