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Pastel Studies

Impressionist Pastel Studies

For the past two weeks we explored the style, techniques and history of Impressionism and looked at paintings of

Monet, Pissarro and Van Gogh who moved on to Post Impressionism to use even bolder strokes in his paintings.

Impressionism, was a revolutionary art movement that emerged in the late 19th century, marked a profound departure from traditional techniques and perspectives on art. It originated in the works of J.M.W. Turner in England and was spearheaded by a group of artists in France who were considered radical in their time for their innovative approach to capturing light, color, and momentary impressions of the scenes before them. Impressionist painters such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, and Camille Pissarro rebelled against the constraints of academic painting, choosing instead to explore the transient effects of sunlight and color in their work by often working outdoors. Rejecting the notion of realistic portrayal, they focused on their sensory perceptions rather than the detailed representation of objects. This was evidenced by their use of quick brushstrokes that seemed spontaneous and unfinished to the era's critics. The term "Impressionism" itself comes from a derogatory remark made by a critic in response to Monet's work "Impression, Sunrise," which was perceived to be more of a sketch or an "impression" rather than a finished painting. Little did the critic know, this would become the label for one of the most influential art movements in history. Impressionism also extended beyond painting, influencing music and literature where similar principles of impression and momentary experience were applied. In painting, Impressionism laid the groundwork for various other movements, including Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, and Cubism, each of which owes a debt to the Impressionists' radical reshaping of perception and artistic expression.


Our lessons were using oil pastels to recreate the "impression " of artists Monet, Pissarro and Van Gogh's brushstrokes.

We did this over several days by doing several layers and blending the colors. In the final stage the class used large oil pastels for broader strokes and last, white highlights. They did exceptionally, especially the step by step and creating the illusion of dimension.


 Week One: Cave Paintings

It has been an eventful week in our Art Literacy class. We have been all around the world.  I would like to thank all of my wonderful students for their great efforts. We began with the story of the discovery of the discovery of cave paintings in Lascaux,  France  and also looked at images from  Spain , where the oldest known cave paintings have been found,  in the cave called El Castillo. The prehistoric dots and crimson hand stencils are now the world's oldest known cave art that dates more than 40,800 years old.

© Serene Greene- Art Literacy Academy
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