The Color of Summer


To capture just the sliver of a moment bathed in light. So fleeting, yet constant, it’s a moment we all know but have experienced in different ways. Truth is so carefully hidden in blurred vision and brilliant flashes of color. The red of a poppy jumps and finds the fingertip. A yellow tinge blazes with the heat of a hazy summer. An August afternoon clings to memory, even as winter rages with snow and ice. Dry grass crunches underfoot, while the wind whistles through the weeds. Muggy air hangs heavy and leaves a sheen on the cheeks. Realism is more than details and finite objects – It is a feeling,  a sense, or a vision that leads to the truth.


Claude Monet, Poppies (Near Argenteuil), 1873
Image Courtesy of wikipaintings 

– – –

When a student asks me the point of Impressionsim, they get a lecture that sounds much like this free write. Impressionist works take you to a place, a time, or a moment that is real, but the image leaves room for you to fill in the blanks with your own experience. How beautiful is that?

– – –

c.b.w. 2014


16 thoughts on “The Color of Summer

  1. You have made my day! The image is lovely but your explanation has captured an essence…I can’t think of the exact words to describe your words so I will just go back and reread what you wrote.


  2. I like to think what the expectation of art might have been before Impressionism came about. That’s something I would have liked to ask a class to consider. How many times, since impressionism, have people looked at a painting and cried “But what’s it supposed to BE?” Where did we get this idea, so built-in now it almost seems natural, that art is ‘supposed’ to ‘be’ something? I would say it stems from the humanism of the Renaissance, and its assumption of the objective reality of things in the range of the eye; now we know that a complex psychological process stands between what is actually out there and what we think we see. We also know that the decision to attempt to ‘depict’ things in art was cultural and arbitrary. We also guess that the desire to capture the fleeting, momentary play of light on objects was, in tis own way, probably more honest than what went before…


    • We just got done tracking the development of art as it moved towards more a more abstract form. It’s kind of interesting that Impressionism has its roots in the Late Renaissance with the advent of Mannerism. As we move forward through Baroque, Rococo, and Neoclassicism, we really start to see “reactionary” art change the scope and aesthetic of art. I like to think of Impressionism as both an offshoot of Mannerism and a reaction to convention.


  3. I really love your prose, it’s really quite wonderful, and compliments that painting so well!! ❤ I lean towards loving the detailed art, but having said that, I do these days (in my mature years) appreciate and love some of those impressionist artists work too – they are lovely, and very inspiring for a beginner of art, easier to feel you might just be able to do that yourself!

    I saw a programme about Georges-Pierre Seurat a few years ago, who painted in pointillism style, it inspired me to believe that I could actually do something similar – and I did! But – I found it a little tedious after a while (lots of dots – sent me dotty!) I then tried an ordinary painting style, with quite a lot of detail, and found after years of believing I couldn't paint at all, found I could – all thanks to Georges Seurat – and his dots! 🙂


    • The fun thing about art is how it allows for so many different tastes and opinions. I love the detailed works, too, but there’s always been something almost “magical” about impressionist works for me. Whenever I see them in museums they always stop me dead in my tracks. I just have to sit and stare at them.

      Seurat is amazing! His works boggle the mind in terms of his technique. What a talented individual!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.