I’ve been thinking of something new for a while now, and I finally started to put the colors on paper. While browsing for impressionism works, as I sometimes do, I came across a more defined type of art with bold cartoonish outlines, poignant shapes, and sophisticated, layered colors. At some point in the 20th century, artists were abandoning the play on light that hallmarks traditional impressionism and experimenting with more flat and frank emotions expressed in color and shape- and as I kept browsing into these types of works, I finally found a definition for the paintings I had already completed in my mind: “post-impressionism.”
Here are some examples of post-impressionism paintings:
Post-impressionism uses color and shapes to convey emotion, in a more surreal way than impressionism. Nothing is natural, but the objects are still clearly present. It was the movement leading up to expressionism, in which there may not be any natural shapes at all.
Many people have asked me why I like to outline the figures in my paintings in dark lines, often stating that these lines make the paintings look “less real.” Realism is just one style of painting, and at least for now, it’s not my favorite to create. In realistic works, acknowledging the skill of the artist distracts me from seeing the creativity; I suppose there is a time and place to enjoy all types of paintings, but right now I prefer making ones that express or evoke more emotion. Bold outlines have many uses: they balance out a composition, make whatever is most emotionally important stand out, and can add dimension when using only flat shapes- you can tell when objects are supposed to be in the foreground or background by how they are layered with lines, without the need for shadows.
Paul Guaguin’s Still Life With Three Puppies is one of my favorites from this era. I can’t put my finger on why I like it so much:
My first painting in this style is a painting of myself. It is not complete yet, but I aim for it to have a post-impressionism feel mixed with some art-deco simplicity.
I am alone many days and study often in unfamiliar places. This painting depicts an experience I had one night while staying in temporary student dorms. At peace, but alone. And, there is a cat that is following me everywhere, and I decided to add him into the painting as well. My mom once told me when I was little that the black grackles on the electric wires looking down at us where guardian angels, watching their assigned humans. Maybe this cat is my guardian.
Here is the incomplete work:
When I think about it, I’ve always used this style in my paintings- some of my first pieces utilized similar shapes, colors, and layers. There are a couple in particular that look more like Fauvism than post-impressionism. Fauvism is similar to post-impressionism/expressionism, except in Fauvism, very bright and bold colors are utilized, like oranges and reds. Here are some paintings I’ve done in the past, many of which I never finished:
I will have to finish these. But first, I’ll finish the one I recently started.