Chasing Impressionism

Sisley’s Dream Impression

Continuing my theme of ‘Chasing Impressionism’ I enjoyed creating a vibrant Impressionist scene showcasing the majesty of the mountains as spring takes flight.

I named this painting ‘Sisley’s Dream’ as it was loosely inspired by the brushword used by renowned Impressionist Alfred Sisley, although the scene is my unique design. You can purchase the original here or prints here.

I love the way Impressionism allows you to represent the feeling of movement and color in a painting that captures the essence of real life in a tangible way even if it is not strictly realistic.

If you stand in a valley looking at the mountains in the distance you often notice the mix of burnt oranges and yellows coupled with vibrant green grasses and a mix of wildflowers.

At first the landscape may seem dull – if you just notice the burnt browns and yellows and ruddy dirt, but the more you pause and reflect on the nature the more the colors come alive.

My process:

This painting took three hours to complete and was a lot of layering.

The sky is meant to be bold and dramatic, because in the mountains you often witness these ‘God painted skies’ where the sky seems to be on fire with color.

I used a mix of acrylic paints including:

  • Naples Yellow, Indian Yellow, Burnt and Raw Sienna, White hues, Phthalo Green-Blue, Hookers Green and more.
  • I don’t use one paint brand religiously but have found my favorite acrylic brands are:
    • Liquitex Basics or Heavy Body Acrylic
    • Golden Paints
    • Sennelier (the paint company used by Monet and Van Gogh) – their Abstract pouring acrylics are great
    • Lukas
    • Soho (Jerry’s Artarama Brand)
  • I do recommend investing in quality (non-student grade) paint because it will be easier to paint with and actually last longer (more bang for your buck) – which is great when you are on a budget (aren’t we all? 🙂 )

If you want to support my art…consider purchasing an original on or one of my prints or other designs on

All the money earned goes directly into paint supplies!!!

Chasing Impressionism

Sleeping Bear Dunes Impression

I’m merging my love of Impressionism and our National Parks with my latest 9 x 12 acrylic canvas work…Sleeping Bear Dream…

Inspired by a trip I took to Lake Michigan and Sleeping Bear Dunes in 2021, I sought to capture the formidable windswept dunes and the crystal clear inland sea in this landscape painting.

Lake Michigan is one of the largest lakes of the world and I was stunned at the grandeur of the space. Having grown up near the coast of North Carolina…I’m used to the ocean and dramatic waves, but had never seen a lake so vast.

My process:

I used a mix of unbleached titatanium and raw siena to create the base layer. Acrylic paint works better when you have a base layer of Gesso and other Acrylic paint. Acrylic sticks well to other acrylics, the base layer sets the foundation.

I think worked to build layers of burnt sienna and other ruddy browns and yellows to create the sand dunes. The dunes are pristine, but have layers of driftwood, sandstone and other elements that can create some deeper color constrasts depending on the layer or type of dunes.

I did adjust the reference photo a bit, using my memory with slight imagination to create the coastline.

We had calm waters during our trip, but I studied other photos that included the rough crashing waves against a blue sky.

The painting took about three hours to paint. It was not without frustration…

One tip for any artist, you have to give yourself grace. The middle of the painting can often look terrible – muddy, undefined and you are tempted to give up – but I challenge you to keep adding layers and building out the values and colors. This is part of the process.

Also don’t be afraid to start over on certain sections if it isn’t yielding the initial vision you had. I changed the coastline a bit and am glad I did.

Painting is meant to be fun and it is okay to experiment and take your time.

I invite you to take home this seascape of Lake Michigan…Prints are available here or you can purchase the original on

A few Lake Michigan photos I took in 2021

Thanks and until next time…