Mitch Albala – The Contemporary Impressionist Landscape

Instructor Mitch Albala

In many ways, Impressionism still defines the way contemporary landscape painters approach color. The Impressionists filled their paintings with brilliant color and created an entirely new coloristic metaphor for depicting natural light. In this workshop, you will learn the key to working with this “color-priority” system: that in order for the purer colors to serve as a stand-in for the luminosity of natural light, darker tonalities are rejected in favor of lighter-value colors. Strong value contrasts are replaced by color contrasts. Impressionists worked from life, but in this workshop, we will work from photographs, in the more controlled environment of the studio, where you will be able to absorb lessons at a comfortable pace. To place the Impressionist color-priority system in context, we begin with an exploration of the “value-priority” systems that preceded Impressionism, such as the Dutch Landscapists. Then, through a series of exercises and paintings, you will learn how this enduring lesson of Impressionism — balancing value and color chromaticity — can bring greater luminosity to your landscape paintings.

Media: Suitable for oil, acrylic, pastel or watercolor. Level: This workshop is not suitable for first-time painters (those who have never painted or mixed color at all); however, it is ideally suited for plein air or studio painters who want to strengthen their skills in landscape.