Contact Us

Free Info Pack

Shop Artwork

Original Oil Paintings

Textured Replicas

Canvas Prints

16x20 Posters

Books & Calendars

Learn More >

About The Artist

Erin Hanson Biography

About Open Impressionism

Watch Videos

Press Pickups


The Erin Hanson Gallery

Exhibition Schedule

2nd Saturdays

Museum Shows

Visit Erin's Studio

For Collectors

Available Paintings

What Are Textured Replicas?

Request Free Samples

Collector Testimonials

How to Commission Artwork

Notify Me of New Works

For Artists

Artist Mentorship Program

Follow in Erin's Footsteps

Artist Q & A

Erin's Blog


A Look at California Impressionism

The Rebirth of the California Impressionism Movement

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

California Impressionism is used to describe a 20th century movement in which Californian artists painted with a combination of American and European styles, forming their own unique technique. California impressionist painting also goes by the moniker “California plein air;”  “plein air” translating to “outdoors” in French.

There are many reasons that impressionist and landscape painters were attracted to California. The state contains a wide variety of different types of landscapes, from forests to deserts to mountains. Additionally, California is very temperate and many painters found that it was possible to paint outdoor almost all year-round. 

Point Lobos by William Ritschel     Erin Hanson painting Cypress Dance

Point Lobos by William Ritschel (1864-1949)
Cypress Dance by Erin Hanson (b. 1981)

With such a profusion of landscapes, California impressionist paintings from the early 20th century differ from those done on the East coast and in France in the subject they chose to capture. Impressionists in the former parts the world often chose to focus on the industrial changes to their cities and people, while California impressionists almost exclusively painted natural landscapes.  

Another wonderful aspect of California impressionism was the freedom that the state’s artistic community embraced. This allowed artists settling into the area to experiment with technique, style, color, and texture. This celebration of artistic liberty brought about great painters like William Wendt, Maurice Braun, Edgar Payne, Guy Rose, Mary Agnes Yerkes, and Franz Bischoff.

While the heyday of California impressionism was between 1910 and the 1930’s, its techniques and celebration of color are employed today by painters like Erin Hanson. Modern California impressionism harkens back to the early 1900’s by playing with the intense light of the Golden State and rejoicing in the use of color.

Laguna Eucalyptus by Guy Rose (1867-1925)     Erin Hanson painting California Eucalyptus 

Laguna Eucalyptus by Guy Rose (1867-1925)
California Eucalyptus by Erin Hanson

That unique, purple light found in California is captured and used to make a lovely statement in modern paintings. This particular shade of light is one which the original California impressionists worked to reproduce in paint, and impressionist painters are still working today to capture the depth of this glorious color. 

Winter Wonderland by Paul Lauritz (1889-1975)    Erin Hanson painting Rolling Dawn

Winter Wonderland by Paul Lauritz (1889-1975)
Rolling Dawn by Erin Hanson 

Not only does Erin Hanson work to embrace the principles on which California impressionism is based, she adds her own flair by mixing her paint colors from scratch and adding modern technique into an older style. As you look at Erin Hanson’s contemporary California impressionist paintings, you can see the convergence of the old and the new to create something beautiful.

Erin Hanson painting Morning Gaze
Morning Gaze by Erin Hanson


If you would like to see more work by Erin Hanson, please visit...
Erin Hanson's California Impression
 Erin Hanson's California Deserts
 Erin Hanson's 
Paso Robles, California



Erin Hanson ArtistERIN HANSON has been painting in oils since she was 8 years old. As a young artist, she worked at a mural studio creating 40-foot-tall paintings on canvas, while selling art commissions on the side. After getting a degree in Bioengineering from UC Berkeley, Erin became a rock climber at Red Rock Canyon, Nevada. Inspired by the colorful scenery she was climbing, she decided to paint one painting every week for the rest of her life. She has stuck to that decision ever since, becoming one of the most prolific artists in history. Erin Hanson's style is known as "Open Impressionism" and is now taught in art schools worldwide. With thousands of collectors eagerly anticipating her work and millions of followers online, Hanson has become an iconic, driving force in the rebirth of contemporary impressionism.

Join Erin's Weekly Newsletter!