Impressionism Study | Part 1 of 3

McKenna Woolleyoil paint

I am currently working on a 3 part study, all three paintings will be based on the same image but the approach to each piece will be taken from from different art movements. My first piece interprets the subject in terms of the late 19th century Impressionism/Post Impressionism period. It will employ broken color in distinct brushstrokes with a bright color pallet.

The second work will interpret the same subject matter influenced by Abstract Expressionism, Cobra or Nabis art movements of the 20th century. The work will still show an idea the of subject matter but leave room for arbitrary color interpretation and shape manipulation. The paint quality will be much more aggressive with thick wet-in-wet paint with greater attuning to the formal qualities of the painting than traditional representation of the subject.

The third piece would use the second painting as a departure point but completely stray from any recognizable subject matter. It will demonstrate a predominant concern for surface forms, textures and value passages, and movement.

I began by choosing my subject. I wanted to use one of my own images, not just an image found on the web. Using one of my own photographs keeps it personal and makes it mine from beginning to end. The photograph was one that I took when I lived in Germany and went on a day trip to Bündigen, wandering the allies of this charming historic town. I chose this image based on it’s compositional value, interesting perspective and linear qualities. Once I settled upon this image I could envision easily how I would approach each study. Ooo.. bet you can’t wait to see! 😉

©McKenna Woolley

For all three paintings I am using Rives BFK paper with a couple base coats of white gesso primer. To get a good medium base value to work up from I painted a wash of a nice peachy-orange using titanium white, red and brown. 

To begin the image I drew in the contour lines with a deeper red/orange and inlaid the values with color. Instead of using a warm grayscale to depict the light and and dark values on the front facing building I chose to use a high pigment of purple placing each stroke with a pallet knife.

Next I added in the sky with the pallet knife and the dark values of the windows and trim of the half-timbered houses with a brush. 

In the following step I up-stated the blues in the sky applying it with a pallet knife and then shifting the marks with a filbert brush, I added a hint of greens and turquoise being sensitive to the marks I was making. Adding green to other areas giving hints of unexpected color. I also added the clothes hanging from the top window with incredibly thick globs of juicy paint, paying heed to the value shifts while overstating the colors. I built up the thickness of paint in the half-timbering using the red-orange straight from the tube then lowering the value by adding a deep red and black to make it into a rich maroon as the lines descend from the light.

With the pallet knife I added in the black trim around the half-timbering and the white wood panels in the windows. For the white I mixed in a cool yellow with titanium white. To give the “whites” some variation I applied wet-on-wet a light warm pinkish/purple. I then chose to place in a brighter pigment of green, pink and yellow in the corners of the face of the left wall.

My professor thought the green and the cool yellow where a little too much so I ended up taking them out and added the clothes line.

Voila! 
My version of impressionism!
What do you think? 
Stay tuned for painting 2 and 3 in this series.