#O78: Exercise – After Harris

My quest for deepening my understanding of color continues. In this exercise I chose a really colorful image by Canadian artist Lawren Harris in which pattern and color play a stronger role than realism. The original is shown side by side with my own version below (ouch!)

My version is on the left and Harris’s beautiful painting is on the right. In my defense I have to say I did not have cerulean blue, had to mix all my greens myself and worked on a small A4 canvas paper. I also set myself a limited time to do this – finished in less than an hour.

I am starting more and more to understand the importance of putting a note of color down and then leaving it alone. But bad habits are hard to break. Working in such vivid colors help me understand what can be done with strong, confident strokes of pure color in the right place.

Over the past few days I have been pouring over the work of the Canadian “Group of Seven” painters, and studying their work has really liberated my thinking about that I want to achieve with my art. I believe this has started to show in small ways in how I paint, but more importantly – how I feel while I paint.

A poem by the Chinese Nun Xinggang (1597-1654) at the end of a long weekend:

The Meditation Cushion
A single meditation cushion, 
and one is completely protected, 
Earth may crumble, heaven collapse— 
but here one is at peace. 

Sacred titles and worldly fame: 
both fade away in the sitting, 
And the universe assembles 
     on the tip of a feather.

adapted from Grant, Beata. 
Daughters of Emptiness: 
Poems of Chinese Buddhist Nuns (p. 74). 
Wisdom Publications.

Thanks for visiting!

16 thoughts on “#O78: Exercise – After Harris

  1. Talk about exciting to see your painting, I had no idea that you were studying the Group of Seven painters….I have always admired their work and here you are with your painting. I hope you continue to pursue your quest in this direction, very inspiring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting to hear you are also a fan of the Group of Seven Margaret. I did not really think they had a following in the US. I will indeed push on through this direction. I think of you often while I paint, I can very well understand the doubting and questioning you seem to be going through at the moment. It is all part of the upward spiral of growth. Just keep on gently pushing at your comfort zone boundaries and it will expand! I have been very busy and have not really checked out what you and others have been up to but hope to catch up over the weekend. All the best!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You know I haven’t really heard or ran across people here in the US that follow The Group of Seven. Sometimes I do feel that our neighbors to the north are often an obscure people, left out and under appreciated. I like to keep my ear and heart on the Canadian pulse 😉 thank you for your thoughts, I am actually quite excited about my determined venture to the “parts unknown” of my artist journey 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. thank you for sharing. The group of 7 magnificent painters!! To be really honest, Fritz, my preferred painting is yours. Yours has a softer feel to it, without any jarring. It ‘feels’ more harmonious to me. (and I do love Harris)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow Debi – you make me blush. Thanks so much for the compliment. I worked on a small piece of paper with a fairly large brush, so my copy seemed to me a bit “clumsier”, and it is so nice to hear you describe it so kindly as having a softer feel to it. Thanks again.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Dawn! Yes, mixing bright greens like that with yellow and blue is tricky. Adding white makes it even trickier to me! I hope your own art is going well. I will check out your posts this weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s striking how clearly your own personality emerges from the copy. You’ve been very faithful in delivering many of the features of the original — and clearly you venture WAY out of your comfort zone with the colors! — and yet there’s something about it that is near in feeling to your own landscapes. I think that’s fascinating to see. Doesn’t it teach you interesting things about yourself?

    It’s one of the wonders of copying — that you learn new skills from the other artist, but you also learn new things about your own personality. Tell someone there to give you a big pat on the back for the color struggle. No cerulean and greens all mixed makes the thing more challenging. And less than an hour! Way to go. Celebrate!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for your very incisive comment Aletha. I really appreciate the caring and thought you put into this.
      To answer your question – YES, I am knocked over how much I learn by copying art of people who started with a very different vision to my own. And I find I am changed in the process, yet still stay the same somehow.
      I am really amazed how there is an element of oneself in these mere copies, even when we try to copy it fairly literally. Thanks again – I will give myself a pat on the back as you suggested!

      Liked by 2 people

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