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February 10, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Botticelli 2

This is the end of "Botticelli week" with apprentice/artist Jenny Lee Wentworth. I had to reflect back on what I learned from painting a Botticelli woman from a Rennaisance fresco and it is now time to use Botticelli's techniques in my own composition. 

I wanted to do a portrait and to select an image that showed serenity, much like Botticelli's women, and I finally selected a candid photo of my 9 year old grand daughter Sydney for my inspiration.  I have sketched her before and can never achieve a true likeness, but her photo was for inspiration - not for a portrait of her. 

I used watercolor and titanium white gouache for the background, like I did with my copy of Botticelli's "Grace" in the last blog post.  The rest of the painting was done with Winsor Newton watercolors.  Botticelli's painting of hair is very distinctive and and I used a partial layer of yellow ochre, then a mixture of neutral tint and Van Dyke brown, and then Van Dyke Brown alone to add a few more golden highlights.  The skin is a palette mixture of yellow ochre, permanent alizarin crimson, with a dab of Payne's Gray. 

I work with 3 triads on my watercolor palette - a warm red, blue, yellow, a cool red, blue, yellow, and a "Velasquez triad" - of yellow ochre, burnt sienna, and Payne's gray.  And over the years I added just a few convenience colors like the Van Dyke brown and neutral tint.  These 9 primaries really allow me to mix any color I want right on my palette, which I love to do!  

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Here is the photo of Sydney who was 8 years old when it was taken in August 2013.  I used it for inspiration for my Botticelli woman and although I tried, I didn't really capture her in a realistic portrait.  I get slightly closer over time, but not close enough.

 

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This morning I started to watch the videos for Danielle Donaldson's Week 5 studying Georgia O'Keeffe.  

February 6, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Botticelli 1

This is Week 4 of my online course and I'm still loving it.  This week mixed-media artist  Jenny Wentworth was apprenticed to Sandro Botticelli.  After watching videos about Botticelli, his techniques and paintings, Jenny painting two compositions - one to teach us about egg tempera, and the other using acrylic paints. 

I selected the Botticelli that I wanted to copy - A Woman Receiving a Gift From Venus and Three Graces.  This was a fresco from Villa Lemmi near Florence and the villa was owned by Giovanni Tornabuoni who was the uncle of Lorenzo Medici.  The fresco was discovered in 1873 under a layer of white wash - and was removed, transferred to canvas, and installed in the Louvre.  I selected one of the graces for my painting.

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Here is my copy of the original - without the cracks in the fresco.

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This is a watercolor, in which I added Titanium white gouache to do the textured painting in the background and on her robe.  I'd never used this technique, but loved the different quality of the opaque-watercolor tinted gouache.  The face and hair were painted with watercolor, without added gouache.   I used 10 X 14" Arches 140 lb Cold Press paper, Winsor-Newton watercolors, and Schminke Titanium White Gouache.

We are encouraged to take periodic photos of our painting, in progress, but I regularly forget.  This time I forgot to take a photo of the drawing, but then took a few intermediate photos with my cell phone. 

Stage 1 - After painting the background and robe

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Stage 2 - After adding an underpainting for her hair with yellow ochre.

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Stage 3 - After painting the face, neck and underpainting the inside of the robe color.

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Next I need to watch more videos and then do my own composition in the style of Botticelli. 

February 3, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Cezanne Part 2

Each week of the this class, or with each Master Artist, we are encouraged to do at least one copy and then to try to apply techniques that we learned to our own art composition. 

Cezanne painted figures, still lifes, and landscapes.  But his landscapes usually had architecture - sometimes with many, many buildings going up a hill.  I painted and sketched Cezanne's Card Players many times - both from the painting at the Met (with 4 card players) and the preparatory paintings and drawings that were at the Met several years ago in an exhibit reuniting many of Cezanne's Card Players.  http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/05/cezannes_cardplayer.php

This was a personal challenge project to try to work on some compositions repetitively.  The painting that I copied for this course, Ginger Jar and Fruit, was a still life, so I searched through my Paris photos and found this church which I photographed on the way back from an exhibit at the Henri Cartier Bresson exhibit.  I don't know the name of the church.

My goal now was to paint a landscape with architecture, to simplify the composition, to use an underpainting (except for the sky), and to use short brushstrokes to mix the watercolor pigments on the paper.

Here is the reference photo - in the snow!

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And here is my Cezanne-ish painting of the same subject.

 

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I really enjoyed Cezanne week, but today will move on with Jenny Lee Wentworth as she apprentices herself to Sandro Botticelli - one of the great early Renaissance painters.  It is snowing again in NYC so I'm delighted that I will be comfy at home to start watching the videos. 

January 31, 2014

Cezanne - Studying Under the Masters Week 3

This is Week 3 of Studying Under the Masters and artist Terea Sheeley selected Cezanne as her Master.  I watched almost 4 hours of video that she prepared, including her copy of one of his masterpieces in acrylic, and her original still life composition done in watercolor, in the style of Cezanne.

It took me awhile to make my choice among Cezanne's paintings, but finally decided to copy "Ginger Jar with Fruit" which he did in oils, but I wanted to paint in watercolor.  This is a painting from the Barnes Collection - and I must have seen it in the new Barnes Museum in Philadelphia last year - among the 69 Cezannes that he collected. 

Here is the original oil painting:

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Here is my watercolor copy:

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I finally had to stop "fiddling" because there are areas that still need some dark lines.  I always remember that it is hardest to know when to stop and I decided this might be it.

While watching Teresa, I learned lots about the very short brushstrokes that Cezanne used, and this painting of his is a great example of that.  It forced me to do many things - work big  (a 6 X 9" painting on large sheets of Arches CP 140 lb paper), to use an underpainting also with short brushstrokes, to work with a drier brush, and to limit my palette.  I used Yellow Ochre, Van Dyke Brown, Burnt Sienna, Payne's Gray, Neutral Tint, and Ivory Black for the background.  I also used an occasional dab of my cool and warm primaries -yellows and reds and blues - for the fruit.   

During Matisse week Jeanne Oliver decided that it was important to take many photos of work in progress, like Matisse.  I took 6 - and here are 3 of my photos - taken with my Android phone while sitting on my comfy couch.   

Work in Progress #2:

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Work in Progress #3:

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Work in Progress #6:

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I now need to apply what I learned about Cezanne to my own composition and will try to finish that before Monday morning when the next artist is posted.  Next Week is artist Jenny Wentworth studying under Sandro Botticelli.  

There is still time to enroll in this class.  It costs $62 for 9 weeks of instruction with 9 different artists, and the class will remain on line for 2 years.  I'm choosing to do one artist per week, but many of my fellow classmates are planning on one artist per month.  The only thing you will miss is participation in a live chat - but I missed all of them and just read the transcript.

You can learn more by going to Jeanne Oliver's website and clicking on Studying Under the Masters. 

January 28, 2014

Wonderful Art Inspiration

This is a terrific week in New York City to tour exhibits and galleries for inspiration.  After I registered for my Spring Semester Class at FIT (Painting on Fabric), Pat, Benedicte and I went to the Morgan Library and Museum for 3 exhibits:  Leonardo, Spanish Drawings, and St. Exupery's Little Prince.  http://www.themorgan.org/exhibitions/

The DaVinci drawings were spectacular and it was a spiritual experience being in the same gallery with them.  The Spanish drawings were also inspiring, especially those by Goya.  And the newest exhibit, The Little Prince, was amazing.

St. Exupery fled France with his wife after the Nazi invasion and lived in New York City with an enormous amount of support from friends.  He created The Little Prince while here, and after the publication of the book rejoined his squadron in Northern Africa where he died on a solo mission in his airplane.  Right before he left, he gave a big bag of manuscript pages and original illustrations to a friend, who gave them to The Morgan, and these make up most of the exhibit.  This illustration with the boabab tree was changed for the final - but I loved this iteration of the drawing best!!

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Master Drawings New York Week began last Friday and we scheduled two days to gallery hop on the Upper East Side of New York City.  Yesterday Pat, Benedict, Judy, and I went to 13 galleries and throughly enjoyed drawings from the 16th C. through the present.  One gallery had iPads mounted next to giclee prints by a Mexican Artist named Elena Climent - and the iPads scrolled through each of the layers she drew from the first scribbling through the final piece.

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I love Delacroix's drawings and watercolors from Morocco, and was thrilled to see one drawing of 4 heads of a Moroccan Man.  I took this photo and then drew one of the heads quickly to remember our day.  And this morning I sketched another copy of it to make myself yet one more magnetic bookmark.  For information about my magnetic bookmarkds see http://www.paperandthreads.com/2012/06/more_watercolor_magnetic_bookm_1.php

 

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When exiting a gallery on E. 79th St. we saw a pile of architectural trash from a renovation.  The textures on the back of granite pieces stopped my artist friends in their tracks.  They took photos of the trash and I took one of them.  From left to right:  Benedicte, Pat, and Judy in Artic NYC.

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Tomorrow we are going to visit the remaining 14 galleries - and hopefully find lots more inspiration. 

This is Cezanne week with Artist Teresa Sheeley, so I am reviewing old notes and Cezanne paintings I did in the past and selecting a painting to copy now.

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