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February 24, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Chagall 2

This is my painting that was inspired by Chagall.

I did family research on my husband's Jewish ancestors more than 10 years ago and decided to try to make this painting a tribute to them.  Both of his sets of grandparents were from shtetls in Belorus - one near Minsk and the other near Grodno.  His paternal grandfather Sam was a scholar and came to America early in the 20th century, settling in New York City,  His maternal grandfather Meyer sold grain in Russia, and was a peddler on the lower Eastside - after his arrival almost 10 years later than Sam.

The buildings were drawn from a photo I obtained of the shtetl near Minsk.  And there were multiple peddlers in the photo each carrying one of these large baskets full of bread.  The fiddling goat to me means joy and the man, woman, and child represent all of their children and grandchildren who survived because they left Belorus before all of the people in their communities were murdered by the Russians and Nazis.


As we were starting our week studying and painting Chagall, I found this statement that Chagall made about his paintings, "I do not understand them at all.  They are not literature.  They are only pictorial arrangements of images which obsess me....  The theories which I make up to explain myself and those which others elaborate in connection with my work are nonsense....  My paintings are my reason for existence, my life, and that's all."

from Frederick Hartt:  Art: A History of Painting, Sculpture, and Architecture.

My painting was done with Winsor-Newton watercolors on Arches 140 lb cold press paper.


February 21, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Chagall 1

I love Chagall and recently saw a fantastic exhibit at The Jewish Museum of New York - with numerous paintings from his later years (Chagall:  Love, War, and Exile).  It is difficult to sketch in the museum from one of his complex paintings, but here is my quick, simplified sketch which I painted with watercolor when I returned home.


I had a difficult time selecting a painting to copy for my online art class -  some were way too complicated and others were too simple.  During this course I try to select a painting that will stretch me a little and finally found this painting from 1944 - called The Wedding.  Only when I started drawing it did I realize that the couple were "under" a large red wedding chuppah - being held up by poles on the 4 corners. 

I made 3 quilted dye-painted silk wedding chuppahs for my 3 children - and was then even happier that I chose this painting.

My Chuppahs:      

Here is Chagall's original oil painting: 


This is my drawing on 10 X 14" 140 lb watercolor paper - using graphite.  Once I started painting, I was in the zone for the next few hours and totally forgot to take pictures.  I like Katie's idea of setting a timer to remind us to take photos.


And here is my painting - done with Winsor Newton watercolors, white gouache, and some black, red, and yellow gouache.  This class has allowed me to experiment with gouache with my watercolors, expanding my horizons significantly since I don't use acrylic or oil paints.


Next week we have a break - to catch up - and then have 3 more weeks and 3 more master artists.  I haven't had time to keep up with my usual daily watercolor sketchbook and need to give it some affection!    


February 17, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - O'Keeffe 2

For my original painting done in the style of Georgia O'Keeffe, I debated between two of her types of images - New York City (my home) and a large flower.  I finally selected this photo of mine and cropped it tightly like Georgia did with so many of hers. 



I did this painting completely in Winsor-Newton watercolors on Arches Cold Press 140 lb paper and scanned it on a flatbed scanner.  The color didn't scan well, my paint is much more rosy than it appears here.




 I regularly forget to take photos at various stages during the painting - but this time did take 4 with my cell phone.  Here they are.






 This course begins its 6th week tomorrow with artist apprentice Katie Kendrick presenting a week with her Master - Marc Chagall.

February 14, 2014

Studying Under the Masters - Georgia O'Keeffe 1

I selected the oil painting named Cow Skull and Two Calico Roses to copy - converting it to watercolor which is my chosen medium.  During this class I watch our art teacher of the week paint a copy of her chosen Master, and then look at many images of our Master artist's work (in books and online) and select one that speaks to me.  I need to then think about how I will transform an oil painting into one done in watercolor. 

I selected this O'Keeffee painting from a book of 100 flowers by O'Keeffe - and because I was working so big I added a few grid lines to the illustration so I could draw it on my watercolor paper and approximate the original size and shape.  The 4 X 4 grid lines are visible here.  The illustration has a glossy surface and the colors were washed out a little in the photo.



I wanted to use titanium white gouache to get more experience using it for shades of white - and used it mixed with watercolor for white areas of the skull and both flowers.  The background and the colored areas of the skull were painted with watercolors.

Here is my finished painting - photographed with my cell phone.


And here it is scanned on a flat bed scanner that is made only for 8.5 X 11 inch paper. 


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!  



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.




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

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