I love the work of the French Impressionists. I have studied their paintings and methods. Back in 1989, I made a number of studies of Monet's work. Here is a study of a Monet’s “Le Bassin d’Argenteail” , that I copied back in 1989. There is a great benefit in copying the masters, but you are only working from the finished work. The process that Monet went through to create this work, took years of trial and error to develop his talents to a masterpiece level. I must go through the same process of learning by just doing.
Back in 1990 I stopped painting due to family commitments and other priorities. But now I am back working in landscapes. In the Plien Air method of painting, I enjoy the freedom of the moment, but I feel like the "draftsman in me", is overtaking the "impressionist". Normally I work from background to foreground. Here is a current painting where I painted in this style.
In my studies, I understand the concept of about tonal development and to focus on darks to lights. Recently, I tried to break away from background to foreground method of painting, and I focused on a tonal approach. By the time I was finished, I was painting my lights in mud.
When I get to a place where I have too much paint built up, I have to stop, and plan to work another day. Sometimes I will start a work on Friday morning and finish it on Saturday, but always outdoors.
I think I am going to keep working in a impressionist style. I am painting tomorrow and I will see how it all works out.