Virtual Art Academy
Impasto 1

Impasto

impasto
Impasto 6

What is Impasto?

Impasto means thick paint. From the Italian ‘impastare’ – to make paste. Using an impasto technique often leaves visible brush strokes in finished paintings.

If your primary goal is to capture the color accurately and learn how to achieve a beautiful color harmony, there is a big advantage to using impasto paint. This is because it forces you to make a clear decision about the color. In addition you get a much better color harmony during the mixing process when you use impasto.

I painted this during the rainy season in the old village of Liujiang in Sichuan, China, sheltered under the roof eaves which fortunately were quite large!

This place was chosen for its interesting patterns created by the colorful umbrellas and of the red lanterns which are a feature of every Chinese town and village. The reflections in the wet pavement served to distribute these colors around the canvas and unify the design. The painting was quite large for a plein air piece, about 60cm by 80cm.

When is impasto used?

Impasto 3
Impasto 4

You can use different techniques for applying the paint to show the characteristic textures of different objects in your painting.
Here I used thick impasto strokes to convey the feeling of the wet pavement, and also to create the calligraphy on the walls.

On the walls of the wooden buildings I used thin transparent washes of paint layered on top of each other to convey the texture of old wood. This is very similar to a watercolor approach. By varying the type of brushwork you use in your work you open up many more exciting possibilities for your paintings.

Note: To learn more about how you can use brushwork to describe forms and texture, see the Brushwork lessons in Workshop G of the Virtual Art Academy Apprentice Program.

More Oil Painting Techniques

See more oil painting techniques.

For More Information

See avoid over blending

See impasto on Wikipedia


What Our Students Are Saying About The Virtual Art Academy

The most comprehensive art instruction I could find anywhere online, and trust me, I had been looking for a long time.

The most comprehensive art instruction I could find anywhere online, and trust me, I had been looking for a long time. 2

I joined 2 years ago with my daughter. We have both learnt so much and have enjoyed our VAA time together. My daughter is now 13 and already produces amazing paintings.
The Virtual Art Academy is simply the most comprehensive art instruction I could find anywhere online, and trust me, I had been looking for a long time.
Even art schools and academies I’ve been exposed to are nowhere near as thorough, VAA is just amazing!
Most paintings I see where the artist clearly has some skill still lack in either the values or notan department, or fall down on composition – it’s baffling that VAA seems to be the only program that goes into detail on this. Therefore, if you are new to painting or an experienced artist, studying with VAA will get you to that next step.
I also find that Barry is always interested in what we students do and is at hand with great advice. Worth every penny, Thank you Barry!!

Marlene Lento
Pin
Share