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California Impressionism

California Impressionism

Although many artists have found inspiration in the Impressionist’s approach to painting, California has a rich history with this movement. Key features of this style include loose brushwork, rich color and a fascination with the effects of sunlight.

When asked to participate in the California Impressionists: The Masters & The Greats They Inspire exhibition in Paso Robles, CA, I was quick to respond. Sasha Irving, the Artistic Director at Studios On The Park, sent a list of masterworks by well known California Impressionists. I scanned the collection and found one of my favorite California painters, Colin Campbell Cooper. He also has a deep history in our Santa Barbara region as a local resident and Dean of Painting at the Santa Barbara Community School of Arts.

Best of all, his image included a bunch of women playing in our Pacific Ocean. That sealed the deal. Sasha let me know that painting was available as a “call and response”. Below, you can see my 2019 painting mirroring Cooper’s level of fun in “Women Playing In the Surf”.

I wanted to feature the athleticism and strength women have in our era. No petticoats or head wraps here. I had a lot of fun applying paint and cold wax with spatulas and knives, while striving to show the action of these surfers and their fluid terrain. Staying true to the impressionists, I used bold color and focused on the sunlight bouncing off these athletes.