Enjoy the charming portfolio of oil painter Manon Sander, who celebrates life with each brushstroke. See more by visiting her website.
Painting, especially en plein air, has changed my view of the world. A big part of learning to paint was for me to learn how to see, to turn seeing into a deliberate activity. I now see patterns of light and shadow, fields of color, and effects of light wherever I go. This ability helps me to find an interesting design for my paintings, rather than painting an object for the object’s sake.
I have studied with a variety of contemporary masters. I incorporate a little bit of each one’s approach into my own style, often described as contemporary impressionism. The techniques that appeal most to me are those of colorists. This is mostly because they aid me in achieving a luminous quality in my paintings. I have a lot of appreciation for tonalists as well, who say everything with value, filling their work with light without the use of bright colors.
In my own practice, I combine both approaches. Usually I start with a five-minute tiny grey-scale value study in markers. I limit myself to four values, which helps me to simplify a complex scene and distill it down to big shapes. It is the road map for my painting.
I know that if the little value study reads well, so will my painting. Then I block in my painting in color. I separate my scene into light and shadow. For the light areas, I block in in warm colors. For the shadows I use cool ones, aiming for correct values and temperature, the key to my paintings’ vibrancy.
My last step is to apply thick juicy color that now resembles more what I see in bold brush strokes. I pay close attention to correct color saturation and the quality of my edges in order to move the eye around the painting.
I consider myself an eternal student of art, constantly learning and evolving by getting lots of painting mileage. Travel has become an important part of this exciting art journey.
At the same time my art was starting to get noticed by collectors, jurors, art magazines, and other artists. I started to pass on my knowledge to others. I was delighted when I took a leap by organizing a workshop on Italy’s beautiful Amalfi Coast, which filled up so fast that I added a second one.
Since then, I have taught many more, nationwide and internationally. I’ve added artist retreats to my repertoire, filling the need of artists to be with other artists, filling their cups by painting together, reenergizing by spending time together, sharing tips and feedback with one another, creating memories in beautiful places we captured on our canvases, providing a community for people whose work is sometimes isolating.
Even though my passion for painting with all the shows, events, teaching, and travel can sometimes feel like a whirlwind, the core of it all will always be the joy to create, to look at our beautiful world, and to create a connection to others through my art.