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Impressionism - Paint this figure painting in oil or acrylic

Learn Impressionism techniques by creating this figure painting. For total beginner through advanced painters.
4.6 (11 ratings)
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445 students enrolled
Last updated 12/2016
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  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • 8 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What Will I Learn?
Create an entire painting in one sitting
Learn about Impressionism and why it is so powerful
Understand how light works to make things look the way they do, and how to translate that into your paintings
Understand the concepts of Drawing, Values, Color, and Edges
Learn the value of brushwork. So much can be said with so few brushstrokes.
Apply all of these concepts to let your own personal style develop
Become comfortable with painting so that you can have fun
View Curriculum
  • Basic painting and drawing skills are recommended, but I will help start you off right if you're brand new.
  • Materials required: regular oil painting materials (paints, brushes, palette, solvent, canvas, easel); also charcoal, eraser, and paper. I provide a detailed list of all painting materials that I use.
  • A love of painting! (that one's cheesy, but it's so true)

Impressionist painting with a focus on light. Bring a luminous quality to your paintings you’ve never thought possible. Learn how to build a painting in one sitting, “alla prima”, and how to savor interesting brushwork. You will also learn the invaluable concepts of drawing, value, color, and edges. Use these methods and knowledge to start your painting off right if you're a total beginner, or to take your painting style to the next level if you're more experienced. You’ve never painted like this before.

You can paint along with me during this entire course. I even have a camera angle that shows my palette as I'm mixing colors. You will learn crucial painting techniques in the process of creating a beautiful painting. Or feel free to just sit back and enjoy the show as I create a painting from scratch.

The reference photo I'm using is provided, as well as a materials list. You're free to use your own style of materials of course, but I'll list every single thing I use. I also provide a PDF flipbook showing each stage of the painting, so you can flip through quickly and see how the painting builds with each stage.

This course is partial toward using oil paint, and I highly recommend it, however you can use acrylics also. Many of the concepts I discuss in this course apply to all mediums of art.

So take this course if you're ready to improve your painting with methods you've probably never seen before, and will have you thinking about painting in a new way. For all levels of painters.

Who is the target audience?
  • Beginner painters who want to have good foundational skills from the start
  • Intermediate painters who want to learn more advanced techniques
  • Advanced painters who want to learn more about Impressionism, or to get fresh ideas and inspiration
  • Any painter who wants to watch a skilled painter in action, up close, and hear about every brushstroke, process, thought, and material
  • Anyone who enjoys watching someone create a beautiful painting from scratch
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Curriculum For This Course
Expand All 21 Lectures Collapse All 21 Lectures 02:13:11
Welcome to “Impressionism - Painting With Light”
3 Lectures 04:30

I will discuss who I am as an artist, and what it means to paint with an Impressionistic style. Also how we will focus on light effects when painting.

Look under the "Downloadable Resources" tab for the following resources:

  • Materials list showing all the art supplies necessary to do this painting project.
  • The reference photo that we will use for the painting.
  • The image of my finished painting to use as a guide or for inspiration.
Preview 01:40

I will briefly discuss the four main concepts of painting:

1. Drawing

2. Values

3. Color

4. Edges

Please read the supplemental material I have provided here, where I go into a bit more depth into these foundational concepts of painting. I also provide examples of my work to demonstrate these concepts.

Look under the "Downloadable Resources" tab to download a PDF of my discussion of the Four Main Painting Concepts.

The Four Main Painting Concepts

Here you will find the downloadable resources needed for this painting course:

  • The reference photo that we will use for the painting.
  • The image of my finished painting to use as a guide or for inspiration.
  • Materials list showing all the art supplies necessary to do this painting project.
  • A PDF of my discussion on the Four Main Painting Concepts, which includes examples of my work to demonstrate these concepts.
Downloadable Materials (Reference Photo, etc)

Quiz for Impressionism and Painting concepts
5 questions
Preliminary Drawing Study
5 Lectures 16:39

I will explain the necessity of doing this preliminary drawing study before the painting begins. I will explain how this process directly relates to the underpainting process.

I will explain the concepts of drawing and values.

I will explain why I use charcoal for this exercise.

Preliminary Drawing Study - Why It’s So Important

Using willow/vine charcoal, I will lay in our middle value.

I will then lay in a simple line drawing of our whole scene, grouping everything into the largest shapes possible.

Drawing Study Part 1: Middle Value and Line Drawing

I will draw in the darkest values of the scene, explaining how to group values into large shapes.

Drawing Study Part 2: Dark Values

I will draw in the lightest values of the scene using the rubber kneaded eraser, explaining how to group values into large shapes.

I will explain the concept of "drawing with light"

Download the charcoal drawing for your reference, and also a document which summarizes this Preliminary Drawing Study process.

Drawing Study Part 3: Light Values

Download this PDF to review the key points to focus on when doing your preliminary drawing study. There is also the finished drawing for your reference.

Summary for Preliminary Drawing
1 page
6 Lectures 32:25

I will explain what an underpainting is, and why it is crucial to building a painting.

I will discuss the simplified color palette we select for our underpainting.

What An Underpainting Is, and Why It Is So Important

I will paint in the first layer of color, and explain the concepts of setting up your motif of light-to-dark and warm-to-cool.

I then lay in a simple line drawing, grouping the scene into the largest shapes possible.

I will touch on the concept of color temperature.

Underpainting Part 1: Middle Value and Simple Line Drawing

I will paint in the darkest values of the scene, explaining how to group values into large shapes.

Underpainting Part 2: Dark Values

I will paint in the lightest values of the scene using a paper towel and solvent, explaining how to group values into large shapes.

I will also discuss the concept of "painting with light".

Preview 05:21

Download this PDF to review the key points to focus on when doing your underpainting. Also provide is an image of the underpainting for your reference.

Underpainting Summary
1 page

Bonus video! Here I actually show you how to clean up your palette when your mixing area becomes too crowded. I also discuss the importance of this step, and why it needs to be done a few times during your painting. I also talk about the materials I'm using that help facilitate this step.

I take a minute to show how to clean your brushes, mainly because it's something that many students ask me. It's one of those things that no one ever thinks to show you, so I decided to show you here.

Underpainting Bonus: Cleaning Your Palette and Brushes
Opaque Painting
5 Lectures 59:53

I will begin the next stage by adding opaque paint over the underpainting.

I will discuss the larger color palette you now use for this stage

We'll begin by doing the background first, in a typical back-to-front painting style, which I will discuss.

Opaque Painting Part 1: Background

I will continue building the painting one section at a time, explaining my process throughout.

In this section, I will begin painting the figure at the head and hair.

Opaque Painting Part 2: Head and Hair

I will continue building the painting one section at a time, explaining my process throughout.

In this section, I will paint in the figure's back and legs.

Preview 19:04

The last remaining section of our painting is the cloth, which I paint in this video.

Opaque Painting Part 4: Cloth

Download this PDF to read some helpful tips for doing your opaque painting. Also download an image of the painting at this stage for your reference.

Opaque Painting Summary
1 page
Finishing Touches and Wrapping Up Your Painting
2 Lectures 02:44

After the painting has mostly dried, I will add finishing touches such as atmosphere, light, or any additional elements. This stage is usually pretty subtle, but just adds that extra oomph.

In this case, I've added a quick wash of paint to change the temperature of the light from warm to cool.

Adding Finishing Touches To Your Painting

I will summarize the painting process in the context of the painting we just finished.

Also included is a PDF flipbook showing each stage of the painting (look under the "Downloadable Resources" tab)

Wrapping up
About the Instructor
4.8 Average rating
160 Reviews
2,305 Students
9 Courses
Professional Fine Artist, Art Instructor
I've been passionate about telling stories through art since I was a kid. In my home in Orange County, California, I used to watch Bob Ross (the afro-wearing painter of "happy little trees" on public access TV) and I would mimic his paintings using crayons. I grew up knowing that creating art would always be my life's endeavor. I was never fortunate enough to pursue a formal art education, but I've more than compensated by private study with accomplished instructors, collaborating with highly-esteemed local artists, and devouring countless art books and videos. The art instructor who had the most profound impact on my technique was impressionist master Vadim Zanginian. Private study with Vadim in Los Angeles, California completely reinvented everything I knew about painting, and I attribute much of my current success to working with Vadim. The both of us being musicians as well, and tireless fans of the Beatles, each painting day would end with me on the guitar and Vadim on the piano as we sang away the hours with old Beatles songs. I've discovered that my favorite subject to paint is light itself, which means that anything in the world becomes my favorite thing to paint, if the light is pretty enough. I love to paint exotic locations (like Italy and Africa), New York skylines, Colorado landscapes, coffee, people, horses, birds, dogs, ice cream, you name it. My main medium is oil paint on canvas. My style could be classified as Impressionist, however I feel I'm somewhat of a blend of these fearless artists from the late 1800s and the more diligent Barbizon painters who came before them. I love having a scene that you can appreciate as a whole when standing at a normal distance, but when you get close you see a combination of accurate details, playful color, and loose brushwork. Over the years I've also become an accomplished art instructor, sharing my knowledge and passion for painting by educating eager students who hunger to tell their own stories. I've taught group and private workshops across the US and Italy. In these two facets of my career – creating paintings for people to enjoy, and teaching art – I accomplish my life's endeavor of sharing beautiful art with everyone. Thank you for visiting, and I hope we can tell great stories together.
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