I have always been fascinated by art history. I love discovering the stories behind master artists from history. There are so many neat little tidbits you can learn by examining these artists, their techniques and the time period surrounding their lives. It can be so interesting.

As I mentioned last week, my goal is not to dive too deep into art history though as I am more interested to inspire you to try your hand at painting in the various styles. Once you start painting in a particular style, it is up to you to take that style and make it your own.

Because of this, I have decided to do a 6 week series on 6 completely different painting styles from history. Last week we looked at Cubism, and as promised this week is Impressionism.

Impressionism happens to be one of my favourite styles of painting. Creating this way can be so much fun. I love the freedom of painting in this particular style.

According to Wikipedia (, “Impressionism originated with a group of Paris-based artists whose independent exhibitions brought them to prominence during the 1870s and 1880s.” 

Impressionism is characterized by visible brushstrokes and dabs of colour. Because of these visual brushstrokes the paintings have life and movement on the canvas. The subject tends to be landscapes or environments of everyday life where the artist tries to capture the changing nature of light. Often the paintings are done outdoors or en plein air.  

Claude Monet’s painting ”Impression, Sunrise” was the inspiration for the name of the movement. Impressionism was a departure from the art world’s classical realism which broke the rules of traditional academic painting. The paintings were done quickly, almost painterly sketches since the light was every changing.

Here’s a lovely video of artist Jane Appleby painting en plein air in the impressionistic style.

For an inspiration board of impressionism please visit my Impressionism Pinterest board. 

And, if you want to push the Impressionistic style further, why not try Pointillism?


Seurat "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" (1884-86)



The style of pointillism evolved out of Impressionism in the late 1880s by George Seurat and Paul Signac. According to Wikipedia (, “Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of color are applied in patterns to form an image.”

Even if you don’t feel you have much artistic ability, pointillism is an easy place to start since it is just a bunch of dots. You can shade quite easily just by putting the dots closer together or further apart. And by making dots of different colours, you can discover a lot about how colours look side-by-side, close-up and from a distance. This can be a very meditative technique and quite interesting.

For an inspiration board of pointillism please visit my Pointillism Pinterest board.

Next week on our tour of painting styles, we are going to take a look at Abstract Expressionism.