Painting the impression – making ART

Edgar Degas once said “Art is not what we see but what you can make others see”, and I think this was at the heart of impressionism. As artists we do not need to replicate exactly what is in front of us. In many ways a camera does this for us. We are called on to be a bit more creative! Our goal is not to copy the subject but to interpret it.

I’ve always been a little self-conscious when painting outdoors and suddenly realise there is someone watching over my shoulder. My immediate thought is that they will be criticising my efforts and saying to themselves that I haven’t got this bit right, or I’ve left out that tree over there, or the roof is not really that colour. Most people want an exact representation of the scene to appear on the paper or canvas and if you don’t do this they assume you’re not a very good artist! (I was once told by a chap who was looking over my shoulder and obviously unimpressed by my impressionistic sketching, that he had “a cousin who painted and he was very good!” Thanks very much!)

But what if we can make others see what we are seeing or feeling about a subject? What if we go beyond copying what is there and begin to spread our artistic wings and create something completely new? What if we push the boundaries? Now we are making ART and not just painting pictures!

Let’s make art!

I want to share this little 7 minute video with you which shows how I approach making ART from a photo reference. I hope you enjoy it and find it helpful. Then go and try it for yourself and let your creativity flow!

If you are interested in finding out more about loosening up and making the most of painting from photos then check out my online course How to paint creatively from photos.

And if you have enjoyed this post please give it a thumbs up, and make any comments in the box.


  1. Hi Johnny, sorry you’ve had such a problem with Udemy. I think the adverts must be a new thing, because they never had them before.


  2. Sketchbook Secrets – the art of sketching

    Hello Andy ! I bought the course listed above through UDEMY ..
    I really liked your course , but , it’s very difficult to view through UDEMY , every time I want to view a lesson, I have to go through tons of advertising, and as if that wasn’t enough, UDEMY doesn’t respond and freezes !
    This UDEMY platform really sucks !


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