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Cath Roberts Talk on "Impressionist and Outdoor Painting Techniques" March 6, 2016

Updated: Dec 11, 2018

Cath Roberts graduated from Glasgow School of Art and now lives with her family in Gourdon.

She paints the local landscape, revisiting her favourite places to paint them again. Her paintings use colour and a visible painting technic very similar to those of the impressionist movement. Her passion and appreciation for the art of the impressionists was obvious when she spoke. However there was some confusion as to what members were coming to learn, which was extremely unfortunate for Cath who I believe felt somewhat on the spot. It is my hope that she will accept our apologies and possibly consider a return visit where she can demonstrate and educate us on her own painting practices in regard to painting outdoors.

That said we did spend an enjoyable afternoon looking at the works of Monet, Renoir, Pissarro, Cezanne and Manet. Exploring the history and techniques these impressionist painters used.

She started by informing us that the impressionists were a break away movement of artists who focused on painting landscapes and everyday scenes of common people going about their everyday business. Advancements in science meant that paint could now be purchased in tubes, meaning they now had the freedom to paint outdoors, no longer having to grind and mix pigment prior to painting. Using bright pure colour with rapid visible brush strokes they often started their paintings outdoors and in some cases finished them outdoors, contrary to the traditionalists of the day who still painted in the studio. Their fearless use of colour, use of complimentary colours and visible brushstrokes left them ridiculed and insulted by their peers, who saw them as artists that could not paint, yet today they are much admired.

She finishes by passing on a few helpful tips on the art of painting outdoors, in that we should endeavour to make our life simple. Making use what we find around us i.e. dry stone dykes and rocks that could be improvised tables and chairs. Taking paper that has an initial painted surface, using 4B and 8B pencils, packing charcoal, chalks, and conte pencils not to mention a knife to sharpen them with. If taking paint only pack a limited palette and three favourite brushes, not forgetting water and a container, then your good to go.

If you would like to learn more about the impressionist movement check out this brilliant link to The National Gallery’s web page.

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