Monday, December 03, 2007


What is impasto?

Sometimes you will see me using the term heavy impasto to describe the painting technique I use. It is a painting technique of using thick textured paint that is almost three dimensional in appearance.

Using an impasto technique often leaves visible brush strokes in the finished painting. Many times those brush strokes are actually as important as the subject matter itself because the brush work is telling you something about what the artist is thinking while painting.

You could almost say impasto is a type of sculpture—but for painters. My area of concentration was sculpture in art school so sometimes I get carried away with the globs of heavy paint on my canvas.

On my trees by the lake there is heavy impasto.

From the front, impasto paint is highlighted by whatever natural light is in the room (since it sticks out so much) and with heavy impasto you’ll be able to see shadows underneath the paint too.
Impasto really makes a physical statement, it is very expressive. I often call my style expressionist/post-impressionism because of my use of heavy impasto and brush work.

You can see some if it here in my painting circle of friends.

People often say I paint like Van Gogh because I use impasto like he did however my subject and colors are nothing like that great artist and impasto was used long before Van Gogh, artists would build up layers of paint to add realism to their work, making objects appear more three-dimensional.
But Van Gogh was different. He used impasto to gave weight to his brilliant colors, movement to his skies, and emotion to his landscapes.
He could have painted with the exact same colors without the impasto, but what would have happened? There would have been no movement, no feeling in the painting. I don't always use impasto only when the subject or the mood feels right.

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