Impressionist painters favored capturing the immediate and sensate, focusing on light, air, and color as one might experience them through one’s own eyes, using an accretion of dabs of paint to stress a single instant in everyday life. To achieve this, many impressionists preferred painting directly from the subject outdoors. After its beginnings in France in the 1860s and 1870s and its introduction to America through exhibitions in New York and Boston in the 1880s, impressionism flourished in the South. Even after artists began to embrace more adventurous modes of expression, impressionism continued to thrive in the South, where it is still a popular style for many artists.
The bright colors, the suggestion of a subject rather than its careful rendering, and the artist’s special attention to the effects of light identify The Yellow Parasol, by Louis Betts as an exemplary impressionist painting. Other artists used the style to portray from a rainbow to a doorway in Charleston.