I quite often use a classic painting as the basis for a classroom demonstration and invariably get more out of the process than expected. Students also enjoy the practice which leads me to wonder why it gets such a bad rap in some circles. I mused on this a month ago in After giants…part 1.
I don’t intend to copy – I’m often just interested in a sketch which may be quite different in scale and medium from the original. The more I look, the more I see and the work takes on a life of it’s own. Working quickly results in more of an impression than a copy.
Here are a few of my favorite forays into drawing and painting after the masters:
My charcoal and watercolour wash version of Francisco Goya’s drawing simplifies the original somewhat. I was pleased with the effect of some quick brushwork. The overall impression is a little more squat than the original and I think I’ve stayed true to the wonderful dynamics of Goya’s sketch – dynamics that perhaps got diluted in Goya’s full-size painting, “The Forge”.
This watercolour is based on one of many pencil sketches of Quebec villages by A.Y. Jackson. I’ve retained the main elements of the barn but the colours and treatment generally are all imagined. A.Y. almost certainly did his sketch plein-air and hopefully, my quick watercolour retains a little of the urgency.
Here’s another watercolour: a miniature version of Prudence Heward’s “Girl on a Hill”. It’s 5″x5″ . I’ve changed the composition a little and like the intimate feel that is quite different from the original.
This demo was part of the kick-off to one of my Acrylic and Oil painting classes. During the first week, I normally ask students to paint with just one colour. On a piece of gessoed backing board, I like the way the image spills out whilst showing the fundamentals of Milne’s original composition. “Side Door, Clark’s House”.
Here’s another demo where the surrounding space helps the image in some way. In this case, it’s on canvas paper. The original image by Chardin is a great subject for value studies in charcoal as well.
A monochrome study by Rembrandt was the inspiration for this little study in pastel on pink card – this is all that was left after I’d handed students all but one of the (more tonal) sheets from my pack! Perhaps the better for the slightly brash pop-art treatment.
My interpretation of Fred Varley’s famous “Vera” is in pastel. I’m invariably intrigued by the effect of using different media with the classics and this is no exception.