Yesterday I linked to Erin Hanson's website. She is the founder of a movement called open impressionism. I really like her style, and am going to start off by dissecting her style and try to reproduce it as a means to learn and branch off into my own style. I have done enough research and reading at this point that I understand the basics of her style and how she goes about things. She does use oil paints. I'm going to use acrylic paints. Acrylics dry faster, can be cleaned up with soap and water, and most importantly to me, do not require often toxic substances to thin.
Some of the things Erin Hanson does to achieve her look. She always uses a tinted under-painting, and that under-painting almost always shows through between her other brush strokes. This is how she creates color harmony and balance in her paintings. Other painters achieve something similar by using an mother color in their painting, which is a color that is mixed with all the other colors in the painting to bring everything together. I like what Erin does with the under-painting better. To me it makes everything look nice and loose and...impressionistic. In addition, I think letting an under-painting show through will be a way to prevent me from over working the painting. If I want to make sure the under-painting shows through, then I will have to stop painting before the entire canvas is covered. Erin also uses an impasto style of painting which employs thick paint applied heavily and leaves brushstrokes. I find this style very interesting as it provides motion for the eye to grasp, even when pretty much all of her individual brush strokes are laid down in a straight line. Finally, Erin uses a limit palette for each painting. They are usually a complimentary color scheme, and only 4 or 5 colors. The colors vary in value, but there are usually only 4-5 colors in each painting. While it might initially seem like this would end up being restrictive, I think it will be freeing for a couple reasons. First, it will require me to really plan out my colors and spend more time planning the painting. Second, working with that small number of colors will make it impossible to represent all the colors I would see in any landscape or still life, which will require me to paint my impressions of what I want to show instead of getting stuck trying to reproduce exactly what I see.
Tomorrow I'm going to dissect this painting: