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True Light: The Contemporary Impressionist Landscape

Learn how value and color saturation work together to suggest light.

Instructor: Mitchell Albala
Fine Art Painters
Medium: Acrylic, Oil, Pastel
Stage: Emerging, Accomplished, Professional, Master

Level: Intermediate to advanced. This is not a class for beginners. The Impressionist strategy is challenging. Participants should have a command of value and an ability to regulate color saturation, as these are the primary controls at play in the Impressionist model.

Homework: Min 3h per week, 6h between bi-weekly sessions.

Starts Friday, May 3, 2024
May 3 | May 17 | May 31 | June 14 | June 28
Every 2nd week for 5 times
11am – 1pm MST


Note: Price in $USD

Out of stock

All recordings are available for 1-month after the course finishes.

High School, University, and College students get 30% off!
See FAQs at the bottom of this page for details.

Course Description

It is often assumed that any painting with bright, chromatic color and loose brushwork is impressionistic. In practice, the Impressionist strategy for depicting light and color is more complex than that. In the Impressionist strategy, value plays a key role (as it does in all painting), but the suggestion of light relies more on color interactions than strong value contrasts. The maxim “painting is a lie that tells the truth” is no truer than when applied to Impressionism. The paradox of Impressionism is this: the colors chosen are not what are directly observed, yet the results create an impression that actually comes closer to the truth of natural light. Color is highly interpretive. In this class, be prepared to depart from the values and colors found in your subject.

We will take our lessons from contemporary Russian and American Impressionists. Working from photographs (or plein air, if you are able to do so), and through a series of exercises and paintings, you will learn the essential keys of the contemporary Impressionist approach. Whether you aspire to be an Impressionist or not, the lessons explored in this class will alter your understanding of how value and color saturation work together to suggest light.

What you will learn:

  • how value can reveal or suppress a color’s innate hue identity
  • how light can be suggested more through color contrast than value contrast
  • the role of color saturation (chroma) and how to control it
  • the critical importance of color temperature and hue interactions
Instructor Bio

I aim to build a warm, supportive, and fun environment in my groups. Guidance is practical and tuned to the areas where you need the most support. My groups generally focus on the “big three” of landscape painting: shape interpretation, composition, and color. Feedback is specific: I tell you exactly why something works or why it doesn’t, and back that up with examples. I often open images up in Photoshop and make adjustments there — altering value, changing color, or modifying the composition. We also cover related topics such as color mixing, paint handling, palettes, drawing, and the proper way to reference photos. I also provide a lot of support material, directing you to portfolios of other artists or styles, related articles from my blog, YouTube videos, and books. Each session begins with a critique of everyone’s work, followed by a demonstration or lecture. Exercises or assignments are given on an as-needed basis. These may be directed to you individually or to the group.

I always tell students that those who make progress have trained themselves to ask the right questions. Solutions to painting problems are much more difficult to come by if we don’t know what questions to ask. In large part, what my sessions do is teach painters what to look for in their paintings, and what questions to ask about their own work in terms of shape interpretation, composition, and color.


How many registrations are required for a course to start?

A minimum of 6 registrations are required.  If 6 registrations are not received by the time the course is 24 hours from starting, the course will be cancelled and all registrants will receive complete refunds.

What is the maximum number of people in a course?

This varies for each course.  The maximum number of registrations is decided by the instructor.

Can I get a refund?

Up until 72 hours before a course’s first session you can receive a complete refund. You can cancel your registration via the My Account portal, or by contacting [email protected].

After this time no refunds will be given (if you have extenuating circumstances you believe justify a refund, contact us at [email protected]).

Can I register for a course already in progress?

No. Once a course has started, no new registrations are accepted.

Where will my course be held?

All courses meet online over Zoom. You will need a device equipped with a camera and a microphone to fully participate. 

If you have not used Zoom before, learn about how to use it here.

If you don’t regularly use Zoom, we recommend you join your first session 10-15 minutes early in case your computer needs to install or update Zoom.

How do I join my course?

You will receive a welcome email from [email protected] when you register.  This email includes the Zoom link to join your course session.  You will also receive 24 hour and 2 hour reminder emails before each session, and each of these emails includes the Zoom link.  You can also access the Zoom link to join your course in your MastriusChat group.

Are the sessions recorded?

Yes, every session is recorded and are typically available 24 hours after a session ends.  All session recordings will remain available for the duration of the course, and for one month following the last session.  The recordings are viewable within the MastriusChat platform, and cannot be downloaded.

What if I miss a session?

You’ll be able to watch the session’s recording.  If you have questions the recording doesn’t address, you can ask them in the chat feed of your course’s private MastriusChat group.

What is MastriusChat?

MastriusChat is an online discussion platform.  You and your fellow course registrants will be assigned to a private MastriusChat group where you can connect and support eachother via the chat “feed”. Your group is also where you’ll access the session recordings. Other resources in your MastriusChat group include a link to join your course sessions, and a library your instructor can use to share resources.

What is a Navigator?

A Navigator is an artist who joins your course to ensure both instructor and registrants have an enjoyable experience. They support (as required) with technology, timekeeping, moderating questions, and between-session discussions on MastriusChat. The Navigator has also joined the course as participant, and just like you, they’re wanting to grow their skills and learn the material.

I’m not ready to register because I still have questions. Who do I contact?

We’d be happy to help! 

Reach out to us at [email protected] and we’ll do our best to support you.


High School, University, and College students get 30% off ANY course (non-member price).

To claim this discount:

  1. Use coupon code in checkout: student_30_off
  2. Complete your checkout
  3. 🚩Before your course starts, Mastrius Registrations will contact you and WILL REQUIRE info to verify your student status