Tuesday, November 16, 2010

To copy is to study

The other day I'd been looking at some of my older work and realizing that over the last few years, my approach to accurate perspective had tightened-up, compared to some of my earlier pieces. I've always had a love for a casual or flagrant regard to accurate perspective and enjoy many Naive painters and the works of artists like Mary Fedden. Though I don't feel I wish to push my perspective or painting narrative as far this, I do feel I'd like to dabble with a more relaxed representation; at least for a while....Whether that's one painting or a larger volume of work is anyones guess.

To get this ball rolling, and help me break from my style I thought I'd have a go at copying another artists painting. - From time to time I like to have a go at working from another artists style or even an actual painting. I tend to really suck at this, but it's a great opportunity to learn their techniques and get a feel for how they paint. It's important of course only to use this as a learning tool and not to run away with their techniques on a more permanent basis.

After a bit of thought on who and what, I turned to a Scottish painter who's work I had admired back when I lived in Edinburgh, by the name of Archie Forrest. As a painter he regualry tackles Still life subject matter and has a far more relaxed approach to both his painting and perspective. Rather than trying to work on my own painting with his techniques I decided to try for a direct copy. This in theory allows me not to worry about anything other than the art of paint emulation.


I had this small low resolution web image of this painting, which made the deciphering of some information challenging, but I wasn't interested in a 100% copy I just wanted to get a feel for the work.

The greatest challenge turned out to be working with Acrylic, because Archie's work so clearly has a strong oily bend to it. I did my best to emulate this with some dry brush scrubbing over areas and working quickly in one area before moving on.

Here's what I came up with... the colors aren't quite as flat and bright as they appear (fire the photographer!)

Lilies by Forrest (no idea what the original painting is called)
18X25
Acrylic on board

I quite like the end result, of course the original painting is wonderful, so even a mediocre copy should be enjoyable. More importantly, it served as a break and springboard for me when going back to my work. I plan in my next few paintings to have a more relaxed perspective incorporated into my next few paintings, and hopefully this little exorcise has helped me break a little from usual method.

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