For years I’ve called myself a Photo Impressionist and even named this blog accordingly. Outside of being a really neat moniker to hang on one’s photographic style, I had no idea what I meant by the term until a friend gave me a book called Pennsylvania Impressionism.
The book is about the artists who lived in and around New Hope during the early 20th century and painted the Delaware River and the Bucks County landscape in their own impressionist style. This style is sometimes called the New Hope School of Landscape Painting or Pennsylvania Impressionism. I knew some of the artists’ work but never saw a group of them lumped together in a large collection.
Seeing painting after painting of the river and the area I grew up in by artists like William Lathrop, John Folinsbee, Daniel Garber and others was an extremely cathartic experience. I finally understand the deep feeling of Impressionism much more than I ever could by studying the works of Monet, Degas and the rest of the gang of French Impressionists. France being a place I have no ties to and know little about. There is something about the way the Pennsylvania Impressionists treated these familiar waterways and scenery that moved me.
Below is my first truly Photo Impressionist image of the Tohickon Creek along with some similar works by the Pennsylvania Impressionists. I realize now that this style is more than simply adding abstract textures and colors that look impressionistic to a photograph. It is a result of deeply relating to, understanding and even loving a landscape.
The Delaware River and all of its the little creeks and tributaries are special places to me. I hope to add my “impression” of these to the works of the artists who noticed these places long before I did. Enjoy.