Painting Techniques Used In Impressionism – Andrei Voica Art

Painting Techniques Used In Impressionism

Impressionism is considered to be the first distinctly modern art movement. It started in the 1860s in Paris and then spread all over Europe and the U.S.

At that time, the generally accepted method of painting was photo-quality realism - the artists created a highly blended finish with invisible brushstrokes, taking their time to finish the artwork in a matter of days, months, or even years.

Impressionists, on the other hand, wanted to capture the momentary effect of a scene - an impression of it, usually finishing the painting in one session.

The subject of an impressionist painting is a landscape, an everyday scene, or still life of everyday items.

Light is essential to impressionists, so they left their studios and went outside to paint en plein air.

Painting outdoors helped impressionists better depict the effects of light and emphasize the vibrancy of colors.

Impressionists usually painted at a time of day when there were long shadows.

But when you’re outside, the light changes very quickly, so you cannot really paint every little detail. The main goal is to capture the moment, and this is why the impressionists painted quickly, having less time to mix colors and using short thick impasto paint strokes.

This way of painting creates the illusion of spontaneity and movement. It also helps capture the essence of the subject rather than its details.

Light is very important - the brighter the sun, the longer the shadows and, thus, the higher the contrast

An important element of impressionism is the use of complementary colors to add vibrancy to the painting. When juxtaposed, complementary colors enhance each other.

I’ve built my color palette and usually stick to the same colors for every painting, occasionally adding one or two more colors, depending on the subject of the artwork.

The colors that I use the most are: Cadmium Yellow, Lemon Yellow, Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red, Cobalt Blue

Another technique used by impressionists is the broken color technique. This means that the artist builds up layers of different colors on the canvas in such a way that the lower layers are exposed. The technique is achieved through stippling, dry brushing, hatching, cross-hatching, and sgraffito (scratching into the paint). The brighter colors are mixed directly on the canvas to aid in creating the broken color effect, and only darker colors are mixed on the palette.

I often start my paintings with an underpainting. This is the first layer of paint applied to the canvas, and it functions as a base for other layers of paint.

It helps me develop a plan for the future color placement and also establish the tones and values for the artwork.

Using a palette knife to paint the masts of the sailing yachts. I also use my palette knives or the back of my brushes to scratch the canvas (the sgraffito technique) when I need to depict thin lines or very subtle elements.

Another essential detail is the wet-on-wet technique. I place wet paint over wet paint without waiting for the previous layers to dry. This gives the painting softer edges and also helps achieve that impasto effect. When the painting fully dries, it has a richly textured surface that can catch the light or create tiny areas of shadow, creating a three-dimensional effect.


Thank you for visiting my website. My name is Andrei Voica, and I am a Moldovan landscape artist. I paint from the heart, for the world.

If you’d like to take a look at my paintings, please visit my Paintings Collection









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