I've been working on Jeanne Oliver's online Studying Under the Masters class. Each week we're learning about a different artist, his life, work, style and then learning the way the masters learned their craft - by copying and imitation. It's been wonderful - I've pulled out my acrylic paints and I'm learning a lot. It really helps to challenge and stretch yourself - which is what we're all trying to do by learning and emulating different painters to help us grow.
The first week focused on Matisse, and honestly, even though they've just started week 4 I'm still working on Matisse projects. I've only taken one acrylic class, and then it was more about learning about the different types of acrylic produts out there -- not how to construc a painting. In between I found Will Kemp's website and did a slight detour going through his 7 painting principles class to learn about underpainting in acrylic.
Anyhow, I've spent quite a bit of time on this first project, sketching in pencil and charcoal, then painting a copy of Matisse's La Coiffure. Although it's quite different from what became his style, I just love this painting and I could stare at it for hours.
This was such a great learning experience - sketching a person, studying his composition, and mixing colors. I can't express how much I learned about mixing colors. I used Golden's heavy body acrylics - almost 100% - and quite a bit of glazing liquid. Being a bit hesitant having not done something like this before, I used an 8x10 canvas I already had, but after working on this I wish I'd gone bigger.
The original is 37.5" x 31.5" - and it's at the National Gallery of Art downtown. I'm hoping to get to the museum in the next week and I really hope this is on display. When looking through their collection on the website many of Matisse's works aren't on display right now, which is disappointing.
I want to fix the vase - the form is wrong and then it needs a sealer coat, but I'm really happy with how this came out.
Now I have to decide what to do next. The class has gone on to study Gaudi, Cezanne and now Botticelli but I'd really like to try another Matisse, maybe this time in pastels. However, I've been immersing myself in Cezanne for the past several days, and those landscapes are really calling to me.
I found a great series on youtube - John Myatt's The Forger's Masterclass - where he helps a group of three emulate a painter's style. Here's a link to many episodes. I've watched the episodes on Van Gogh, Cezanne, and Durain. And now I want to learn more about Durain....