Friday, July 10, 2015

You Can't Steal a Gift

Student "master copy" of Edgar Payne landscape (acrylic on canvas)

You can’t steal a gift. Bird [Charlie Parker] gave the world his music, and if you can hear it you can have it.” Dizzy Gillespie

I'm back from my beachy summer break following June's Summer Art Market. It was a super busy sunny (rain free!) successful weekend! Thanks to everyone who helped and supported me--art shows take a village! Special gratitude to my collectors for ongoing their support of SAM and the Denver art community.

Coming Soon! Fall Painting Classes and Workshops
Back in the studio I've been putting together some really interesting new fall classes and workshops which you can find on the my website. Hope to see you there!

I'm particularly thrilled to be joining the Park Hill Art Club (PHAC) as a Thursday morning painting instructor starting September 17. Thank you again PHAC for inviting me!

My student Michele working on her version of a Wolf Kahn landscape.
If you're a Denver artist and not yet a member be sure to check out this very established and active group of almost 300 artists (you don't need to live in the Park Hill area to join). PHAC offers high quality affordable classes, workshops and other painting events.

Lately several of my students have been working on "master" copies (see Anita's lovely Payne landscape posted today). So wanted to share some thoughts about why a master copies are so helpful to artist. (Along these lines have you read Steal Like an Artist yet?)

In many ways the act of creating a painting is problem solving. For an artist viewing a great painting by a master artist is visual gift. One that helps us "solve" the same puzzle we're about to tackle.

Yes, I often work from photos. But the more I work with other artists I also find that painting (copying) another painting vs. painting (copying) from a photo reference is more relevant experience. It’s “apples to apples” or more specifically it’s “paint to paint” rather than “pixels to paint.”

Here are 10 questions you may find helpful while reviewing a masterwork (or a painting you simply really love.)

  1. How do you think the artist started their painting? Why?
  2. What colors (and even more specifically what pigments) did they use and why?
  3. What attracts and holds your eye?
  4. Why do you think they painted what they did?
  5. How have they created form?
  6. How did they arrange their values? Is there a dominant value?
  7. Where do you see hard edges? Softer edges?
  8. What design elements and principles can you find?
  9. Consider the paint application and brushwork--Is it heavy, thick, thin, washy?
  10. What do you like best? Least? Finally what elements could you incorporate into your own painting?
Thanks everyone--Have a sunny safe summer weekend!