Impressionism and spontaneity

On a whim, I visited the Legion of Honor in San Francisco this week. My dad is a huge history and museum buff and wanted us to see an Impressionism exhibit of artwork by Camille Pissarro.

Little did I know this would turn into a lesson about the power and appeal of spontaneity in a different art form.

I was reminded that Impressionist painters were considered radical in their time because they broke many of the rules set by earlier generations of artists. They found inspiration in life around them, instead of in history. They tried to depict what they saw at a given moment, observing more directly what was happening spontaneously around them. Their work wasn’t necessarily careful or smooth, they used simple compositions but took a great deal of care in their work. Painting a spontaneous scene took a lot of practice and skill.

Sound familiar?

Nobody said spontaneity was easy, but done correctly it can produce some of the most memorable and beautiful pieces of art – whether it’s a painting or a scene in an Improv show.



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