artist posing for a picture while painting at the easel outside
Manon at play while hosting a three-week retreat in Tuscany in 2022

How did you develop your unique style?
Manon Sander: Taste in art is very personal. My style of choice is impressionism, as the expressive brushwork entices me to look past the technical skills and invites me to connect on an emotional level. It is a humbling experience and a slow process to develop a looser painting style. When I started out, I was happy when my paintings somewhat resembled my subject matter, but focusing so hard on the technical aspects, they lacked emotion. A couple of examples of things that helped me to loosen up and to paint with emotion are:
• Giving myself permission to take artistic license: I realized that I don’t have to copy my subject matter. Instead, I can edit and make it my own by eliminating unnecessary detail, focusing instead on capturing the feeling of the day.
• Treating each painting as though it is an experiment to allow myself to try new things and tools without fear of “messing up”. Being afraid of making a mistake hinders growth.
• Training my brain to think of things as shapes and spots of color in order to trick myself into being more adventurous with color.

To see more of Manon’s work, visit:

oil painting of closeup of blue house with red chairs out front of doors; palm trees on left frame
Manon Sander, “Take 5 At Nr. 10”, oil, 12 x 12 in., 2023, painted en plein air during the recent Forgotten Coast Paint-Out
oil painting of boats tied up along the marina; sunset glowing in the background
Manon Sander, “Tethered”, oil, 11 x 14 in., 2023, painted during a residency promoting inclusivity of the modern plein air movement


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