Choose Wall Paint Colors Based on Fine Art

Let fine art paintings inspire the best wall colors for redecoration

Written by on May 21, 2013

Redecorating a home can be challenging and picking out a new color scheme may seem like the most daunting part of the process. Reds, blues and greens are all viable options, but which shade? What about the trim? Then begins the frenzy of online searches, torn out pages from magazines, and stealthily analyzing the homes of friends and family for inspiration.

After the headache of choosing colors and painting the walls, another challenge arises: What to decorate the walls with? Let’s start with that question. Choose a work of art to inspire your color scheme and forget the online searches for “wall colors ideas.” When you go to peruse the paint chips in the home depot store, you will be prepared. Here are three examples from the reproduction art galleries of Overstock Art to inspire you as you choose home wall colors. Click on the hyperlink art titles to have the ability to zoom on each painting as if it were inches from your eye.

  • Klimt’s The Kiss

Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss (1907-08) is an iconic painting of two lovers sharing a romantic kiss among a bed of flowers. Which colors appear the most vibrant to you? Where is your eye immediately drawn toward? Now, imagine if you chose the same color to paint the walls with. Perhaps it is the brightest yellow that you are drawn toward. If you painted the walls with this color, the painting and the wall color would appear to vibrate as if you were staring at the sun. It would be advisable to select a color a shade slightly different than the most vibrant color. The most vibrant color or colors could be chosen as an accent for the trim, if selecting a slightly varied shade. A red pulled from the painting could be a possible choice as it is less used in the composition but would make the painting also stand out.

  • Renoir’s Near the Lake

Renoir-Near-the-LakePiere-Auguste Renoir’s Near the Lake (1880) marks transition from the artist’s painting in the style of Impressionism and a return to Classicism. The color palette here is warm. Soft country yellows or sage greens can be pulled. Choose colors that remind you of a sunset. Perhaps the room you are painting receives light from a beautiful sunset. If you prefer a less warm palette but still love this painting, take inspiration from the sea and the mountains in the distance, the clothing the young woman is wearing, and choose a blue-grey.

  • Sisley’s The Church at Moret in Morning Sun

Alfred Sisley The Church at Moret in Morning (1893) painted fourteen variations of  Eglise Notre-Dame at Moret from a southwest direction. In his time, the artist became acquainted with Monet and Renoir. Here the color palette is cool. A rustic yellow ochre can be chosen and the blue color has associations soothing and relaxation as the vibrant painting, while the yellow ochre would have an inviting warmth. Choosing a blue from this painting is also a viable choice; notice an almost indigo color that can be used as a possible trim or accent.

Keep in mind a few tips. Remember to not match a warm and cool color together as predominant colors. Choose one color as your predominant color, and then use other colors as accents. Bright, vibrant colors add visual weight, such as a vibrant yellow which can mimic the effect of staring at the sun; this effect of visual weight can also appear to retract a room or make the room seem to expand. Sometimes a nice, deep red in a small room can make it seem lively and intimate, depending upon your taste. Warm and cool colors can even affect our perception of the temperature in a room.

These paintings by Klimt, Renoir and Sisley are only suggestions to get you started on choosing the best wall colors. Perhaps consider color schemes throughout your home from art styles, such as Impressionism or Traditional. The possibilities are limitless. Your friends and family are sure to envy your inspired idea for home wall colors based on fine art.

Did Impressionism Rip Off Macchiaoli?

Strangely similar, Italy's Macchiaoli predates France's Impressionism

Written by on April 18, 2013

"Hay Stacks" by Giovanni FattoriDid you know there was an Italian Proto-Impressionism? The Macchiaoli movement was active in Florence during the mid-nineteenth century. A few disenchanted, youthful men were fed up with the “Neoclassical” movement and met at Caffe Michelangiolo with other creatives to discuss politics and the rebirth of a type of art to encompass the chiaroscuro of Caravaggio and the whimsical realism of Rembrandt. Macchia translates to “stain,” inspiring the name for the Macchiaoli art movement.

Macchiaoli (1855-1862) preceded Impressionism by a difference of about ten years, and the movements have quite a few things in common historically. When paired side by side the similarities are significant enough for any art enthusiast to raise a questioning eyebrow. A few of these strange similarities include:

  1. The formation of each movement was in opposition to a “Neoclassical” and and politically-correct school with a very strict definition of art. The Impressionists made their own outdoor gallery to show their works in the early 1870′s by the  Académie des Beaux-Arts. The Macchiaoli painters were noted to be very anti-academy.
  2. The name of each movement was coined by a critic in a review with similar meanings and intended disdain. For Impressionism: The paintings were incomplete child’s play, and the name of the movement was taken from Monet’s “Impression, Sunrise” painted in 1872. For Macchiaoli: The paintings were made up of “stains” and were no more than sketches in a harsh review published on November 3, 1862 in the journal Gazzetta del Popolo, first mentioning “macchia“.
  3. Haystacks. (This one is a stretch.) Giovanni Fattori today is recognized as a prominent Macchiaoli artist. For a time he focused on haystacks as a subject matter, much like Monet’s prominent Haystacks series. Many Macchiaoli artists relied on plein-air sketches, but many Impressionists skipped the studies and rendered the light immediately on canvas as a painting. Irregardless, both movements shared a tendency and insistence on a plein-air element.
  4. Each movement surrounded civil war and unrest. Macchiaoli: The second Italian Independence war in the late 1850′s.Impressionism: The Franco-Prussian War in the early 1870′s.

Monet - Wheat, Snow, Morning HaystacksInterestingly, Macchiaoli had an influence through Italian landscape painter Giovanni Costa who was associated with the French painter Corot. “The typical Macchiaolo elongated format, however, owes more to Corot {curiously overlooked}….Giovanni Costa who knew the Frenchman’s work had already adopted this format in the early 1850s,” relays art reviewer Sandra Beresford (255.) Costa has no mention as actively a part of the Macchiaoli movement by scholars or critics, but his work and those he was influenced by had its impact on the movement.  Beresford also mentions that Costa wrote to the art critic Diego Martilli at times.

Macchiaoli and Impressionism did have an art critic and enthusiast in common, one Diego Martilli. Art historian Norma F. Broude describes: “During the artist revolution which had taken place in Florence during the 1850′s, Martilli, an early supporter of the Macchiaoli, told his audience “ . . . the macchia was found in opposition to form . . . it is said that form did not exist and since, in light, everything appears as a result of colors and chiaroscuro, the effects of nature should therefore be obtained soley by means of patches [macchie] , either of the color or of the tone.” Like the conservative critics who had first attacked the Macchiaoli some fifteen years earlier, Martelli sees the macchia in opposition to “form”, but the meaning which he attaches to these terms are new” (406). Broude relays that in the 1860′s and early seventies, Martelli’s writings reflect the concept of the contemporary French art which was “then current among the Italians” (407). Broude reveals that Martilli “in Paris for the first time in 1863 he waxed enthusiastic over the paintings of Corot, Millet, and Courbet, while the work of Manet, which he saw for the first time at Salon des Refuses of that year, struck him…” (406-407). Scholars of Manet will recognize his later work as a precursor to the Impressionist movement.

Martilli became one of the first critics to support French Impressionism. Was Diego Martilli a spy for the French, who had a secret time-traveling device able to to fling him back and forth between decades?  Not likely. Scholars, such as Broude, indicate that 1863, Paris was Martilli’s first exposure to Impressionism as we know it today and that Impressionism, as he witnessed it, was hardly inspired indirectly by him, though the connection is valid to the suggested element of influence.

Edgar Degas did paint Martilli in 1879. The painting now hangs in the National Galleries of Scotland. Common sense would have us suppose that Martilli shared some aspects of his knowledge of Macchiaoli technique. Martilli was also friends with Macchiaoli painter Giovanni Boldini, who “learned enduring lessons from the Macchiaioli, reinforced by his exposure to Manet, Degas and others in French Impressionist circles,” according to writer Roderick Morris in this New York Times article. With the Macchiaoli and Impressionist movements being merely a decade apart, artists from these movements would have inspired and grown from exposure to one another’s work. It’s not that Impressionism “ripped off” the Macchiaoli movement but shows evidence of cross-pollination in art rendering. Perhaps here we witness how the growth of art naturally progresses, just as various cultures across the world share very similar myths and traditions.

The Musée d’Orsay will host a show revealing several Macchiaoli paintings to the French public from Apr 9, 2013 – Jul 22, 2013.


Beresford, Sandra. “The Art of the Macchia and the Risorgimento. Representing Culture and Nationalism in Nineteenth Century Italy (by Albert Boime).”Burlington Magazine. Apr 1995: 255. Print.

Broude, Norma F. “The Macchiaioli as “Proto-Impressionists”: Realism, Popular Science and the Re-shaping of Macchia Romanticism, 1862-1886.”Art Bulletin. 52.4 (1970): 404-414. Print.

Morris, Roderick Conway. “In Impressionist Paris, the Face of the Belle Époque.” New York Times. 13 Nov 2009: 1-2. Web. 18 Apr. 2013.


All artists derive their inspiration from somewhere, something or someone, whether conscious or unconscious. For Kinkade, he consciously mined his inspiration from his faith, from nature, from the world around him. However, there are striking similarities between Kinkade and the great Impressionist master Claude Monet.

Written by on April 23, 2012

From landscapes to lighthouses, from cottages to cabins, from mountains to Main Street, Thomas Kinkade captured the essence of nature and glimpses of Americana.

THOMAS KINKADE AND CLAUDE MONET: IMPRESSIONS IN THE LIGHTHowever, Kinkade is best known for his ethereal works of lush landscapes and colorful cottages with a fairytale feeling. His stone cottages nestled within a forest surrounded by secret gardens and sparkling streams invite the viewer in.

His paintings vibrate with a stillness and quiet magic, providing a respite, a place to hide away from world weariness and worries of everyday life. Delicate and dreamy, Kinkade’s works are eye candy for the spirit, with a lightness that lifts the spirit.

All artists derive their inspiration from somewhere, something or someone, whether conscious or unconscious. For Kinkade, he consciously mined his inspiration from his faith, from nature, from the world around him.

Monet - Water Lilies (pink)There are striking similarities between Thomas Kinkade and the great Impressionist master Claude Monet.  Perhaps unconsciously Kinkade’s greatest stylistic influence was distilled from Monet’s masterpieces.  Both painters provide a paradise, a peaceful retreat for the observer, and a serene majesty that soothes any irritation.

With gardens bursting in colorful blooms, to the shimmering ripple of reflection on the water’s surface, how could one not draw the conclusion that Kinkade was influenced by Monet? Some might think it heresy to invoke the two names together, but like it or not, Kinkade’s modern works are an expression of Monet’s lightness.

Rather than anesthetizing the senses, the saturated pastels, multi-colored hues and an evanescence to both Monet’s and Kinkade’s works provide a soft glow of soul.

Parallels between Monet’s Artist Garden at Giverny and Kinkade’s many garden paintings such as Garden of Grace, while not exact, can be drawn. Both display purple and pink hues bathed in soft light.

Other examples of similarities?
Monet’s Japanese Bridge and Kinkade’s bucolic Blossom Bridge. While the latter does not have the fine composition of Monet, both exude warmth, of immersing oneself in the waters under the bridge.

Monet’s Garden Path at Giverny and Kinkade’s Savannah Romance both take the viewer by the hand to lead them down a pathway, through nature, towards a final focal point with a sense of direction, but completely unhurried.

There are other examples exhibited if one opens up the mind and lets down any sort of inherent prejudice against Kinkade as kitsch. Instead, if one views Kinkade as paying homage to Monet the master, a tiny crack in the psyche widens to allow the possibility of a kinship in light

Going Mad for Paul Cezanne

Did madness and depression make Paul Cezanne stand out?

Written by on October 3, 2011

Paul Cezanne - Card Players with PipesHow is it that some people have their own world as if that world is the true reality? Is a world of an artist a reality in-itself and normal people simply cannot understand it? We like to call it madness. Is it possible that without a little madness, a painter cannot become a great artist?

Some painters took drastic measures in times of weakness, such as Vincent Van Gogh cutting his ear off. Others kept a hidden life by staying out of the light of society. Only close people knew about Paul Cezanne’s weakness, his depression and his lack of reality. It is said that he was a difficult person to be around with.

Paul Cezanne was, for the most part, a loner and did not let many people around him. Even so, is it possible that a mad man can realize his lack of reality? Cezanne himself wondered if he was insane: “Tell me, do you think I’m going mad? I sometimes wonder, you know.” The problems began with the onset of diabetes in 1890, destabilizing his personality to the point where relationships with others were strained.

However, his ability to paint hasn’t been affected. Although he had admired in his lifetime, Cezanne rarely liked his paintings and often, despite the long time spent making them, destroyed them. It is said that the artist once put someone to sit for him in order to make a portrait for three months and then destroyed the painting. For some, the endless sittings were often tortures. The artist demanded that his models remain absolutely motionless. However, he wasn’t interested in the facial mimicry or emotions, but in the composition of the moment. For this reason, he painted people he could afford to pay, such as farmers and day laborers.

It was people like “The Card Players” that Cezanne used as models to paint. The painting can now be admired at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art. Nevertheless, Cezanne was so dissatisfied with the results of his works, and even showed sympathy with the Salons that turned down his paintings for shows.

Although towards the end of his life collectors became increasingly interested in Cezanne’s works and his paintings began to reach significant prices, the artist retreated more and more from the world. “The world doesn’t understand me, and I don’t understand the world, that’s why I’ve withdrawn from it.”

Cezanne’s health weakened him as he grew older. Apart from his diabetes, his depression worsened, and was mainly manifested in a growing distrust of his fellow human beings and eventually in paranoia. His mood swayed between euphoria and despair. However, he was delighted at the increasingly frequent visits from friends and admirers.

Despite him wanting to be alone, he also appreciated the importance the admirers gave his work. He felt that at last he was being taken seriously. In January 1905 he wrote to Roger Marx, the editor of the Gazzette des Beaux-Arts:
“My age and my health will never allow me to realize the dream of art that I have been pursuing all my life. But I shall always be grateful to the intelligent amateurs who had – despite my own hesitations – the intuition of what I wanted to attempt for the renewal of my art.”

So what made Cezanne stand out from the artist’s crowd? Was depression, madness or paranoia that made him paint in such a unique manner? or none of these, but only his talent? I guess that only Cezanne can answer that question:

To my mind, one does not substitute oneself for the past; one merely adds a new link to its chain. With the temperament of a painter and an ideal of art – that is to say, a conception of nature – sufficient means of expression would have been necessary to be intelligible to the general public and to occupy a decent place in the history of art.” – Paul Cezanne

Becoming Monet: Continuously Evolve Your Art

Claude Monet evolved to paint nature from the masters he met along the way.

Written by on July 6, 2011

“In order to learn to draw, you must learn to see”. These words took my attention when I recently read a book about painting. That is how I learned that an object hasn’t a single color, but an infinity of shades. Rendering reality as it is it’s almost impossible. However, I can say that the artist paints only the reality he sees.

Becoming Monet: Continuously Evolve Your Art

Monet began to make associations between reality, nature and painting, following the guidance he received from Eugene Boudin, with whom he began to paint outdoors. After meeting with the artist, Monet wrote: “Boudin, with a tireless kindness, began to guidance me. Finally, my eyes opened and I truly understood nature. In the same time, I learned to love her”.

Monet’s words reminded me of Plato’s story. The greek philosopher imagined a cave in which people, who are tied, look towards a wall to the shadows caused by objects paraded before a fire behind the prisoners. The shadows are seen by people as being the only reality. One of the prisoners managed to escape and goes outside the cave. He contemplates the sun and the surrounding nature. He comes back in the cave to tell the other prisoners what is the actual reality. Nobody believes him. Fortunately, the “reality” drawn by a painter is admired by fans of beauty, even if it is not the true embodiment of the object that stands in front of the artist.

Every artist, at the beginning of his career, has a person who helps him gain maturity in his work. He is the person who will help him define his manner of painting, the person from whom he will learn techniques and tricks that enhance his own ideas. The young artist should add his own vision and experiences to the master’s ideas, tips and tricks to become unique.

For Monet, Boudin was the one who paved the way to an artistic career and the same who made the world aware of the artist Claude Monet. Because of his master, young Monet decided to become a professional artist, painting in direct contact with the reality of nature. The first painting by Monet, where he signed Monet O. 58, is a landscape near the village Rouelles with the water flowing along. The young artists’ passion once opened it could not be taken away even by the painters’ father. In those times artists were not seen kindly, so Monet was left without any financial support from his family, except for an aunt.

The vision of reality will enrich along his life. Called to military service, he goes to Africa, where he fell in love with light and color. While some artists choose to spread darkness, shadows on canvas, Monet prefers the sun and shades that render nature. A man has a lot of stops along the way, in which he has the opportunity to change all or just to improve his vision. Africa was for Monet another stop, where he could see nature in a new light: “My view on things has improved. At first, I didn’t realize that. The impressions of light and color formed there only later revealed, but already sprouted in me a desire for future searches,” wrote the young artist.

If in Africa, Monet looked at nature alone, when he came back, he met the dutch men Johann Barthold Jongkind, who explained to him the practice and motivation of his work, thus complementing the guidance of Boudin. “Since then, he became my true master, whom I owe my views final education,” Monet described the meeting with Jongkind.

Landscapes will define Monet’s work. The most representative paintings are the 250 variations of the famed Water Lilies, painted in the last twenty years of his life. The artist Claude Monet is the one who also informed the world about France’s natural wealth.

Over the years, Monet took the ideas of painters he met along the way, such as Jongkind and Boudin, and combined them with his own unique style and footprint. Monet was able to adapt and borrow his art from his surrounding molding his art into what it is so well known for today.

Therefore, if you consider those next to you as being masters, regardless of their age or training, take the time to open your mind, and listen to what they have to say. You will find out that you become a richer artists just by listening to others.

Monet Water Lilies at Shotheby’s

Written by on June 9, 2010

On June 23, 2010, if you have a few million dollars and happen to be in New York at Shotheby’s-Christie’s Auction House, perhaps you will go home with a Monet in your collection. To be more specific, Lot 254, or Giverny, La Roseraie De Monet. According to reporters, the painting was not seen by the general public since a 1936 exhibition in Paris. The painting has remained in the Monet family for decades since the artist’s son, Michel, purchased the painting in the twenties.

Like the other lilies, this Nymphèas was painted in Monet’s garden in northern France as a part of 250 works the artist painted nearing the end of his life.

The Water Lilies Series

Claude Monet - Water LiliesThese 250 works of water lilies are also known as Nymphèas. The works were painted during the last generation of his life. The subject matter reveals Monet’s flower garden and pond in Giverny, France, which was constructed by Monet himself. Though Monet was a true purveyor of Impressionism, it is known that he suffered from cataracts in old age, obviously affecting the execution of his artwork. The growing loss of his eyesight, however, assisted in the creation of one of the most treasured painting series in art history. Yet, the revolutionary brushstrokes, when compared to Monet’s earlier paintings, cannot be attributed to the classic interpretation of Impressionism or the artist’s deteriorating eyesight alone.

The viewer must remember that Monet’s series came not only from vision, but expression and execution of memory and emotion. To some degree Monet’s series is in the vein of Expressionism. Monet, through each brushstroke and palette color, re-envisions the garden that he cared for over the course of thirty years. In noting the true impression of each color, Monet integrates a bit of post-impressionist Pointillism in terms of technique but not style.

An artist will often squint at an artwork to dilute the object itself into a basic form or series of shades to better discern a color or to not impose definitive restrictions. Monet, though losing his eyesight, no longer squints. He uses a scientific approach and an emotional approach to execute the series, resulting in a revolutionary body of work that evokes a style-identity crisis in the art world, giving birth to supporting and opposing movements of art.

“The rush to live and to produce was alien to a period where calmness prevailed. M. Claude Monet belongs to quite a different age, one in which dizzying speed is the rule, where the creative person wants instant awareness of the universe and himself through quick and violent impressions…. He causes us to know and love beauty everywhere,” said art critic Roger Marx in a1909 article for the Gazete des Beauxes.

Marx adds, “M. Claude Monet pleases himself….his experience directed at recording the pleasures he experiences during the course of the day as he works in a single place…. The value of the theme lies in the potential for increasing the number of sensations aroused in the viewer and enriching their quality. His system is a familiar one, but M. Claude Monet has not heretofore undertaken to push its consequences quite so far.”

Monet’s Garden

Among the many flowers and trees in his garden were yellow irises, tulips, roses, and water lilies, as well as holly, maple, weeping willows, sycamores, apple, and chestnut trees. The pond was handcrafted by Monet himself.

A Gift From France To Monet

Only months after Monet’s death, France constructed two oval rooms to showcase eight mural pieces. The show opened in May of 1927. Since this time, different pieces of the series have been scattered in exhibitions across the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Carnegie Museum of Art, among others.

Monet’s Influence

Monet’s Water Lilies certainly enrich the sensations of the viewer lucky enough to see the Nymphèas series in person. His use of color and stroke communicate the visual look and feel of the garden, but more importantly, animate the garden in a way never before experienced in art. This impact places Monet as a favorite among many, influencing artists such as Degas and Renoir.

If you cannot make it to Christie’s for the auction, you can have a Monet of your own from Yes, there are a few Nymphèas. Now, get your canvas, get into your garden, and start painting!

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