“Painting from nature is not copying the objects: it is realizing one’s sensations.” Paul Cézanne.

Realizing one’s sensations: Paul Cézanne

Paul Cézanne (1839–1906) was known for his own work as well as for the company he kept — or sometimes didn’t as a lack of appreciation for his work and disagreements with friends carried him into a self-imposed isolation. That isolation led to the creation of some of his most famous and beloved works as he found his own style.

Cézanne is regarded as the link between Impressionism and the dominant styles of the early twentieth century, especially Cubism. While fully steeped in the concepts of Impressionism, Cézanne’s own work seemed to be more informed by the sturdiness of sculpture. Portrait, landscape, or still-life; all are unabashedly made up of geometric shapes that dominate the subject matter.

Cézanne also loved fruits and flowers. His robust spherical apples and oranges positioned on dramatically shadowed cloth are vibrant almost more alive real fruit could ever be.

You can read more about Cézanne in his own words in Painters on Painting, a compilation of various artists’ own opinions and philosophies about their craft and their theories on art.

Comparing and contrasting Impressionists will go a long way towards understanding them. Dover’s coloring books give the coloring enthusiast a truly hands-on opportunity to study an individual artist’s technique.

Dover Masterworks: Color Your Own Still-Life Paintings by Marty Noble provides you with the framework: masterpieces rendered in line drawings. The book also includes full color reproductions for reference, and Cézanne is well-represented among the 30 compositions.

You can focus purely on Cézanne with Color Your Own Cézanne Paintings, also rendered by Marty Noble. The book includes a great variety of compositions based on Cézanne’s famous works, from portraiture to still life. A recent purchaser of the book used it for educational purposes, buying two and then coloring with her school-aged son as a series of art-appreciation lessons.

The stained-glass coloring books are always wonderful — translucent papers with heavy outlines are fun to color and display, taped to a window where the light will shine on a sunny day and create splashes of color — bold and geometric, just like Cézanne intended — in your own home.

Take Cézanne at his word: you are not simply imitating what you see by coloring, but you are realizing your sensations, indulging in color and form to enhance your life.

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