Sunday, January 18, 2009

Red Room...Studying a Master


watercolor (3x3 inches) inspired by Matisse's Harmony in Red



another small study from the same painting



Matisse's original oil painting, Harmony in Red

There is something about being holed up in a warm house on a cold weekend that encourages productivity.  I've been reading up a storm (The Writer's Brush, and a P.D. James murder mystery), and spending time in my studio hatching ideas.  

I spent a good afternoon yesterday preparing painted papers for a collage that's gestating in my brain, and also doing two small studies, little watercolors based on Harmony in Red.  Matisse's painting with its bright primary colors and cheerful design is an antidote to the blahs of a cold gray and white winter day in Wisconsin.  Watercolor pencils allowed me to achieve intense color and also do the outlining I see in the original.  It's pickier work that I anticipated, but interesting. Matisse was more interested in cheerful and clear color combinations and shapes than he was in making an ultra realistic rendering.   Two down and two more to finish, then I want to try this month's Virtual Sketch Date a couple different ways.  I should do my Everyday Matters sketch as well, and there's an unfinished colored pencil piece to work on.  It'll be a busy Sunday one way or the other.

Do some of you who visit here do studies based on other painters?  Do you think there's value in this sort of work, or does it lead a person to be derivative?  I'd love to hear from you.

7 comments:

Ann said...

I haven't done any studies based on other artists in a very long time but I am thinking about doing some again. Mainly to try to understand how they achieved a certain effect or element that is appealing to me in their work. I don't think it would lead one to be derivative unless you ended up copying all the elements that make up that artist's work, if that makes sense.

Carolyn said...

Like Ann, I haven't done much of it, but am considering it. I am reading a book on Pierre Bonnard and am thinking about some of the elements from his interiors. I don't think I would want to copy something entirely though.

laura said...

These are beautiful, the colors so luscious. I enjoy doing copies--I usually have done them when I couldn't think of what else to do, but there's also something about actually emulating an artist's technique that I think (I hope) helps fix it in your mind as A way of approaching a subject.

pejnolan said...

If studies of the Masters was not worth the time to do so, then it would not have been a teaching method in Europe for so many years. I think it helps another person to understand how the original artist was thinking or using his/her materials. The post also caught my eye because, by coincidence, I was studing this very painting last night. What a co-winky-dink! I think your studies are beautifully done.

Shirley said...

I do lots of drawings/paintings of master works - usually at least one from every art exhibit I attend, and some artists more than once from drawing books I've purchased. I do it purely for the joy of the moment - trying to capture a little bit of their lines, or styles, or colors. I don't think it has any efftect on my work because they are all so different. The biggest effect it has on me is learning how to slow down and really look.

Flying Colors said...

Beautiful post! Very inspiring... thank you!

Sharon said...

I think there's a reason copying old masters is such a standard practice in art schools. Although I've only done one old master copy. I found it relaxing, fun and a good learning experience. I liked being able to focus on mixing colors without worrying about composition, values, color scheme etc., since that had already been "done." I think the greater risk of derivative painting comes from taking several classes/workshops from the same instructor. I've never tried copying other's work with watercolor painters I admire, but I've been thinking of giving that medium a try...