In the last week I focused on broadening my color horizons; my strategy is build confidence by making some copies of master artists whose use of color I admire. I chose the beautiful Canna Lily still life by Franz Bischoff. You can see the real thing here (I just did not have the guts to put it next to mine!)
Because the WordPress ‘featured image’ is often distorted, I put a frame around it in the above version. Below it is larger size without a frame.
I am always weary of copying the works of others – even when it is a deceased master. The fear is always there that I will stifle my own creative voice. But I was encouraged to venture into this area by Juliette Aristides’s Lessons in Classical Painting, in which she advocates the copying of master paintings.
I have to say, I was surprised by how much I learnt in this exercise. Aristides’s book notes that warm colors like yellow, orange and red are at their brightest right out of the tube. Adding white will only dull them down. So I duly put down the yellow and red in my copy without any white.
On the under-painting the yellows and reds looked dull – not very bright like the original at all. I thought I had a disaster on my hands. But the moment I put down the dull green and dark next to it, it popped right out of the painting. That is the relative nature of color perception!
I went on and finished the painting over several sessions, and in the end I used almost no white at all in this painting – only a small amount in the final session to cool and push back the background in some areas.
I learnt so much in this exercise. I hope I have the energy to make a few more copies. Will my creative voice be adversely affected? Carlson says the following about your unique creative voice:
Style or method in painting is like your personal handwriting; you thought little about it when you were forming your first crude letters in school. We all use the same alphabet, and one man’s letters are legible to another; and yet how vastly different in general appearance! The style of your handwriting was dictated by some latent and unconscious quality within you, and even your present style will gradually change, with the years of practice in writing, or in painting, with the ripening of character.
Today and yesterday, rain and sun followed in short succession all the time. Light and shadow dancing the day away. What a mysterious, stupendous experience this life is. Walt Whitman sensed it:
Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and hands,
Even now your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true soul and body appear before me.
They stand forth out of affairs, out of commerce, shops, work,
farms, clothes, the house, buying, selling, eating, drinking,
Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem,
I whisper with my lips close to your ear.
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.
Thanks for visiting!