Why I paint impressions

Studio Llewellyn is quiet at the moment, as I am just spending a little time tying up the loose ends of a couple of mini-projects that got a bit lost in the shadow of the “Season-spiration” series that is now complete and available for purchase in my Etsy shop.

With that in mind, I thought this would be a nice opportunity to explain a little more about my process – in particular, my painting style.

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The way I describe my artwork is somewhere between realism and impressionism. To give a broad explanation of my understanding of these terms, I would say that Realist painters tend to focus on the accuracy of the representation, giving attention to capturing the finer detail; whereas Impressionists take a step away from the detail and seek to give a more holistic and ‘painterly’ impression of the subject. If we imagine a sliding scale between realism and impressionism, each of my pieces fit somewhere on that scale – some with more realist characteristics and some with more impressionist ones.

So why do I paint impressions? Well, the reason for this has three elements to it.

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Firstly, my view of art in the philosophical sense is that all works are representations of some experience – whether that’s the experience of observing, sensing (i.e. emotional or physical feeling), thinking, acting, etc. The sheer diversity of possible experiences means there is almost no limit to the style of representation that could be used to make art, but I feel that each artist’s style does in some way reflect the experience that they are seeking to represent.

The second element is an aesthetic one: I love paint. I love ‘building’ an image out of marks, particularly when the paint retains the texture of the brush (or other tool that has been used) so that you can see how the image was put together. I also want to be able to follow the artist through their creative process when I look at a finished piece, and get a sense of how they communicate their experience that way. Therefore, the ‘painterly’ impressionist style appeals to me in terms of my personal taste in art.

The third and final element has to do with myself; how I experience and interact with the subject of my work. My artwork is inspired by the natural world, and connects with my belief that human beings are intrinsically connected with nature, with enormous power and responsibility in the way we impact and affect it. The experience that I am looking to represent is a combination of ‘observing’ the natural world and ‘sensing’ our connection to it. Balancing the two, it draws me to focus less on fine details and more on the general qualities of the subject, and this causes my work to lean more towards impressionism.

Put differently: I am a seeing-feeling kind of person. I see the world in impressions, so impressions are what I paint.

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What kind of person would you describe yourself as, and how does this impact your work? Leave a comment below and tell me about your favourite art style!

2 thoughts on “Why I paint impressions

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