During a recent trip to Scotland, I had the pleasure of visiting the Inspiring Impressionism Exhibition at the National Gallery in Edinburgh. I was in heaven and could have easily spent days, if not weeks, wandering through each room visiting Monet, Degas, Van Gogh, and Seurat. There is so much I love about Impressionism: its simple beauty, everyday subject matter, and depiction of light and color. The movement was also a revolutionary break with the conventional wisdom of the day. The Impressionists were initially mocked and derided by the serious art establishment of the 19th century, but today they are beloved and their work is appreciated as a turning point of sorts in modern art. Art was no longer just for the wealthy elite who could afford to pay for formal, realistic portraits to hang in their homes. Through their radical new way of looking at the world and their unconventional painting techniques, it was the Impressionists who made the point that extraordinary beauty could be found in ordinary everyday life. In addition to their artistic insight, the Impressionists made equally profound observations about life as well.
Many original masterpieces were on display at the Gallery, including The Church at Vétheuil, painted by Claude Monet in 1878. I wanted to study his brush strokes up close, something which is often overlooked with Impressionist art, as the pieces are best viewed from a distance to truly visualize the composition. Up close you see dots, strokes, and dabs of random color, but step back and you see how they interact and come together, and your eye fills in the details.
I am fascinated with how technique is absolutely unique to an individual artist, and reveals a bit of one’s personality as well as methods. Much can be gained by appreciating the tiny details of a piece. When I returned home, I looked through my photos and I thought they would make the perfect (and perhaps unexpected) backdrops for inspiring quotes by the artists. This print is the first in the series and can be purchased in the following sizes: 5×7, 8×10, 11×14, and 13×19.
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