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Australian Impressionist Colley Whisson

Australian artist Colley Whisson carries on the Impressionist tradition.  His landscapes and interiors are known for their painterly approach with loose, bold brushwork, while still being representational. His books Creating Impressionist Landscapes in Oils and Impressionist Painting Made Easy , along with articles in International Artist and Australian Artist magazines, has increased his global audience. According to Whisson, Impressionism covers such a wide range of styles that it allows him to employ passages of realism or abstraction whenever he feels it's necessary or appropriate.

Whisson paints with Archival Oils. The consistency of the paint first attracted him, but the strength and quality of the pigments have kept him coming back for more. He prefers to begin with a toned surface, typically mid toned, and places his lightest values next to his darkest values to help these colors pop. He moves onto larger color masses next, with the goal of achieving accurate values and colors in first pass. As he observes paints and refines his painting surface, he gradually adds more and more texture to foreground shapes. Whisson believes that palette preparation and control are essential.  “If my discipline isn't 100% when mixing my values, it will show in my painting immediately.”

His painting, A Time To Relax, QLD, reveals that Whisson is a master of values. The light key is harmonious, and the reflected light and the color in the darks accurately capture the atmosphere, what Monet called “the envelope of light.”  What’s more, this painting shows how Whisson expertly paints the mood – there is quietness in this piece, as if he painted the subject's brief moment of reflection.

He writes, “Better paintings begin when you are totally captivated by the subject. I have a strong belief that painting is not copying nature but giving expression to visual ideas.” He tends to look for interesting groupings of shadows, and his main focal point contains the lightest and darkest tonal values.  When asked how he chooses his subject, he replies, “When I discover the correct ingredients the actual subject matter become secondary, maybe even irrelevant. This then frees me up to paint anything my heart desires.”

Ultimately, Whisson calls himself, “a humble painter.”  He is currently working on paintings for a solo show in Nashville, TN, USA at Leipers Creek Gallery, opening May 18, 2013. He is also teaching in the USA this spring.  View more of his works, along with his workshop schedule, at