Important Characteristics of Impressionists Paintings Which Changed the way Artists Work

The Rue Mosnier Decorated with Flags, 1878 by Edouard ManetImpressionists were among the first to truly think outside of the box. The techniques they began to use are techniques that many artists still use in painting today.

Among those most noted in the era were:

  • Thick short strokes of bright color. These strokes were taken to get a quick impression of the essence of the subject. Impressionism did not focus on the intricate details of an image
  • Color – Color is not mixed. It is laid against another color which thus creates a vibrant overall look. The mixing of the colors is supposed to take place when the viewer looks at the painting
  • No use of Black – There is no black used in impressionism. Grays and dark colors are obtained by mixing contrasting colors together.
  • Previously after applying certain paint, the painting is left to dry and this did not happen with Impressionism. The painters tended to blend the colors right on the canvas by mixing in wet colors
  • Because Impressionists took painting outdoors, they began to realize the importance of natural light in their paintings and played up the emphasis of light.

Previous to the Impressionist period painters had used some of their methods, but never all of the methods together with such bold brush strokes.

Another influence in Impressionism may have been a new invention in regards to the paints themselves. Previous to this time most painters had to mix their paint from scratch. During this era paints began to appear as premixed in lead tubes. This allowed the artists more freedom in transporting their paints and allowing them to take their materials outside.

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