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Decorating with Contemporary Impressionist Paintings

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Erin Hanson painting on display

The right contemporary impressionist painting can give a house, room or office a completely different look. Choosing the right artwork, however, can be a difficult task. Let's make it easier by deciding what we are trying to accomplish. Generally speaking, I break down art selection into two possible (and very broad) categories:

  • Decorating with paintings
  • Decorating around paintings

Which category you focus on is up to you. There is no right or wrong. Since I work with an impressionist painter (contemporary, of course!) I'm already biased towards decorating with American Impressionist art. Impressionism and similar styles allow the viewer to "contribute" to the art, each person's impression being slightly different. Contrasted with photo-realism painting, which leaves little to the imagination, impressionism requires imagination from the viewer as well as the painter. 

But you can use whatever genre of painting you prefer.

Today we'll discuss decorating WITH contemporary impressionist paintings. In other words, how to "finish" a room by completing it with the appropriate artwork. Decorating around a painting, i.e. choosing the right room embellishments to set off the artwork in the room, is usually a labor of love for a particular painting and will be covered in another post.

A few tips for decorating with paintings:

1. Avoid over-exerting visually. Bright furniture, colorful rugs and dazzling décor might need to be tempered with a more neutral impressionist piece. Pale shades of blues, grays, pinks, lavender and beige can de-stress or tone-down an already vibrant room. 

Wild Oak by Erin Hanson

2. Add a focal point of color. Have a modern design room with minimal color? Take the edge off that crispness with bold, bright colors that attract interest. You'll end up with a room that feels warmer while still retaining a overall modern feel.

Decorating with impressionst original paintings by Erin Hanson

3. Match and complement colors, lines and patterns. Guard against too many colors by selecting one color in the room to match. It could be a pillow, couch or a standout color from a rug. Then find a painting that really features that color. 

Another Erin Hanson painting on displayMatching the existing colors in a room can be a challenge, but a challenge easily met with contemporary landscaping paintings. If the right California impressionist art for sale is elusive, just commission a new one. Most painters will be happy to create the perfect piece for your home.

To help draw inspiration for your own project, peruse a few art books, being careful to note what you like. Art is in the eye of the beholder, so it's really up to you to find what suits your personal style, evokes wonder or just plain makes you feel good. Erin Hanson has created her own design idea flipbook (feel free to page through the online version of the book below), but any book store will feature many publications that will help you. Happy decorating!

Article by Daniel Trevor






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.

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