original oil painting landscape art

Why Tonalism is making a comeback?

Why Tonalist paintings are popular again

"Land really is the best art" - Andy Warhol


A lot of us connected with nature during the recent lock-downs more than we ever had before, and now things have gone back to "normal" most of us want to keep that connection. Art, especially landscape art, is a fantastic way to keep the relationship with our natural world. 

Tonalism is an artistic style that emerged in America around 1880, but was eclipsed by the more popular impressionist movement that followed. Easily recognised for its muted colours, tonalist artists began to paint hazy, luminous landscapes often depicting the soft glow of dawn or dusk, with a tone of coloured atmosphere using grey, brown, purple, amber and green hues. 

In recent years tonalism has been making a comeback.

This style projects an emotion or mood rather than a realistic representation of a landscape. Atmosphere and feeling are portrayed using soft edges and a limited colour range of subtle gradations of middle values that blend into each other resulting in a dreamy, poetic painting.

Sometimes called Quietism, this subtle abstraction of a tranquil landscape has a soothing, calming effect, the antithesis of the fracas of modern life; maybe that is why tonalism is becoming popular again. Connecting with nature has always quietened the mind, allowing us a measure of peace and tranquility. A tonalist landscape can evoke a contemplative mood in the viewer. The soft and rich details in the painting reflect a profound and meaningful harmony with nature and our surroundings.

It is not coincidence that Tonalism emerged at a time of industrialisation and urbanisation, when many were leaving the countryside and heading to the cities to live and work. We were losing a way of life, and many did not welcome this. Tonalism is about recognising a need to have a deep connection with the landscape, with nature and with a slower pace of life. 

Tonalism is not about resisting the modern world, it is about wanting to love and respect what is good about the current one.

 original oil on canvas landscape art

 Winter Sky - Helen Stamp

click here for more art https://helenstampart.com/








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