Group of people sitting in front of art in a darkened room.

Co|So Artists Find Inspiration in the Impressionists

By Caroline Browne on July 1, 2022

On Tuesday June 28th members of Boston’s art community gathered at the Park Plaza Castle for a special viewing of Immersive Monet & The Impressionists, and an artist panel featuring four accomplished Copley Society artist members. With projective displays of Monet’s water lilies, Degas’ graceful dancers, Cassatt’s fair women, and Renoir’s bathers, this exhibition brings to life many of the most iconic paintings that propelled the art world into the 20th century.

Panel moderator, Geoffrey Chalmers, began the discussion with a historical examination of the Impressionist Movement. In his commentary, he explained how the Impressionists took delight in painting images of contemporary life that broke free from old methods and the conservative studio approaches taught in the art schools of Paris at the time. Monet and his contemporaries painted en plein air to capture the ever-elusive, evolving effects of sunlight and atmosphere with their expressive brushstrokes.

Fellow Co|So artists Oana Lauric, Rosalie Sidoti, and Eli Portman joined the conversation, examining their experiences working as contemporary artists and how they have found inspiration in the work of Monet and the Impressionists.

For Oana Lauric, her painting career began after years of experience working as an architect. She initially painted in a more graphic, two-dimensional design with her acrylics. Oana explained that as she, “got comfortable with being an artist and really reflecting more on the depths of my soul and emotions of every day, I realized that light and air and the general murmur of the universe was clamoring to be represented.” Stylistically, she then moved more towards Impressionism: incorporating bolder brushstrokes, brighter colors, and more light into her compositions – while unaware of the origin of her newfound inspiration.

“I can show you some of my work compared with the some of the Impressionists’ sources, which I didn’t even know that they were sources. Everything is subliminal. I just discovered yesterday and today how much I owe to Impressionists; I had no idea.” – Oana Lauric

Rosalie Sidoti is a contemporary impressionist painter whose work is inspired by the beauty that light can create in the environment. She observes form and light, painting authentically without trying to fit into a genre or any other space that is popular at the moment. When you look closely at one of Rosalie’s paintings, you can see the intent and vision in each individual brushstroke. When asked by the audience about her approach towards marketing her art, Sidoti responded that she, “works with and becomes a juried member of as many national organizations that support the style and journey I’m on as I possibly can. That’s the journey I take, and the direction I try to move in.”

“I enjoy every minute of being an artist. I’m grateful for the gift that I have been given, and I love to share that gift. I am also grateful for the teaching that I can do and share my knowledge with whomever wants to hear.” – Rosalie Sidoti

“To me the biggest reward [of being an artist] is, besides the painting itself, seeing my work up on your wall and having you tell me it brings you joy.” – Geoffrey Chalmers

Eli Portman finds inspiration in the Impressionists’ alternative approach to genre painting: how they painted street life, city scenes, gardens, and restaurants to reveal truths about daily life that were not previously rendered with paint and a brush. In his oeuvre of detailed pen and ink drawings and watercolor paintings, Eli focuses on the city as his subject – often portraying the scenes and sides of Boston that he wants to help others see and experience. Eli noted that he tends to market his artwork more to people in the New England area because of his imagery, but, “found that even though my work is local, I’ve had people internationally reach out me about my work despite the fact that it has nothing to do with their area.”

“I’m always pushing my work in different places… I do a little bit of everything with the hope that the more people see it, the more it will resonate with people no matter what they’re seeing or what element I think they’re seeing.” – Eli Portman

Thank you to our moderator, Geoffrey Chalmers, and our wonderful panelists for their insightful remarks on Impressionism and for sharing their perspectives as contemporary working artists. Thank you also to Lighthouse Immersive for hosting the panel discussion and for honoring the works of the Impressionists with this exhibition.

Immersive Monet & The Impressionists will be on view in Boston at the Park Plaza Castle though September 25, 2022.