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London Visits: Part 30 National Gallery Exhibit

Drawing from Paintings: Leon Kossoff Exhibit at the National Gallery of Art

My husband and I went to this exhibit today on our way to the National Portrait Gallery - and I was intrigued by Leon Kossoff's process of working.  He began to sketch in front of National Gallery masterpieces when he was a young art student and returns over and over to sketch the same paintings - some over many decades.  He even etches plates directly in front of his favorite paintings to make prints. 

I like to draw from art masterpieces on occasion to learn more about techniques, but I usually buy a postcard to work from and rarely sketch a painting more than once.  I'm afraid I would be very bored....  Maybe I'll need to try the same one once a year and see if I can do it.

Here is a link to a Degas Masterpiece  Combing the Hair by Edgar Degas

Here is the very simplified sketch/print of the Degas Painting by Kossoff  Kossoff Drawing of Degas Painting

Here is my sketch with some watercolor added.


Most of Kosoff's drawings were more developed, resembling value sketches more than finished drawings.  I also purchased a postcard of the Poussin masterpiece, The Judgement of Paris, which was another favorite of his, and I'll use it for some figure practice when vacation is over. 


I love this one! The colors are so wonderful and rich and even though the women are in period clothes there's a more modern sensibility that I see in the drawing that adds to the fun of seeing it.

thanks for this great post. it´s nice to compare all the drawings/paintings/etches. i didn´t know Leon Kossoff. i´m off to google some more about him.

What a lovely interpretation of the Degas/Kosoff. Your London sketches are facinating. I especially like the bus in the tunnel. I hope you all are doing well and are safe.

I like your 'La Coffiure' best! The colors bright and fun and I can see this one poster size! I did Sargent's Madame X once and should seek it out again and maybe try some other artist to study.

Really enjoyed stumbling across this one - I saw Kossoff's drawings a couple of months back, and this painting by Degas is one I really like a lot. The red against the paper in your sketch works really well

What a great post! I love your interpretation, it feels so alive and the colors look so right. I have not seen that much Degas, my own fault, but I liked what I saw here.

Hope the terrorist goings on are not messing up your fun, and that you are safe and happy!


I love Degas, but I think I actually like your painting better because the background is not as dark as Degas'. Great job!

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