Why Copy?

Still Life with Apples on a Pink Tablecloth

The Arts Club of Washington presents a one of a kind exhibit that will surely wow you.  A magnificent collection of art has been created by some very talented independent artist and copyist at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.  Each copy has been created in front of the original masterpiece.  As copyist, we learn and perfect our skills by studying the styles, history and procedures of great painters from the past as the master artists we copy did before them.

Riverbank after Paul Cezanne
Riverbank after Paul Cezanne

Come out, meet the artist and enjoy a fun evening of great art.  Opening Reception will be on Friday, January 5th from 6:30-8:30, The Arts Club of Washington, 2017 I Street and 20th NW.  Parking options include free street parking on Pennsylvania Avenue after 6:30 PM, metered parking in front of the of the Arts Club, and at the Colonial Garage, 2100 Pennsylvania Avenue, where you can prepay and reserve a space online.  The club is also within a few blocks of both the Foggy Bottom and the Farragut West and North Metro stations.   For more information go to the Arts Club of Washington.  This event is free and open to the public.

Note: this exhibition is not organized, supported, or endorsed by the National Gallery of Art.

 

 

 

 

 

New Works

Strawberries
Strawberries

Spring term classes are over at the Art League School in Alexandria thereby allowing me to focus my energy on creating new works for exhibitions.  Not having to work on assignments for my portrait and figure class will give me time to be more creative and experiment with different media, perhaps trying my hand at some abstract and impressionistic work.  Copying the Impressionists at the National Gallery of Art has inspired me to move away from the classics to a looser format, at least for a little while.  I’d like to do a series of paintings perhaps with just a palette knife and see where I can go with a thicker, imposto style. The excitement of being an artist or painter is the ability to have the freedom to express what you see in any form that comes to mind.  It can be in the style of Monet, Van Gogh, Rembrandt or Vermeer.  I guess you can say I have not found my personal style yet.  Galleries look for a cohesive collection of work before they will consider giving an artist a solo show.  For me, that will have to come later.  I am satisfied exhibiting on a smaller scale.  Right now I plan to have fun doing whatever comes to mind, an advantage when it comes to commission work as I feel confident I can do whatever the client desires. The above paintings were painted from life.  Lucky for me the beets stayed fresh long enough to complete the painting.  By the way, they tasted delicious after I roasted them.  The strawberries had to be painted quicker, almost “alla prima”.  I backlit the setup in order to create a glow coming from behind and may try doing a series in this manner with different fruit. I promise to keep you posted on new creations.

Still Life with Apples on a Pink Tablecloth after Henri Matisse

Henri Matisse was one of the most influential artists of the early 20th century.  He achieved this status primarily through the revolutionary use of brilliant color.  Matisse often exaggerated form to express emotion.  Born in 1869, Henri Matisse first began a career in law.  However, in 1891, he began to study art.  He started by taking a drawing class in the morning before he went to work.  Then, at age 21,  while recuperating from an illness, his true vocation as an artist was confirmed.  As has happened in the lives of many artists, Matisse decided it is never too late to follow your passion. Matisse went through many changes in his style and was influenced both by artists who came before him as well as contemporaries.  He was particularly taken by the work of Georges Seurat and Paul Signac who painted in a “Pointillist” style with small dots of color rather than full brushstrokes.

A love of bright colors is what Matisse is most known for today.  He produced major creative breakthroughs in the years 1904-05 eventually leading to the emphasis on capturing mood rather than merely trying to depict the world realistically.

I was drawn to Still Life with Apples on a Pink Tablecloth because of the unique placement of the composition and the majestic use of color.  Like many of the paintings that hang at the National Gallery of Art (NGA), the years have somewhat dulled the paint used by the original artist.  I try to imagine what the painting looked like when it was created in 1924 and try my best to reach back in time to recreate the luster that was intended by Henri Matisse.  It is always a challenge but what a privilege it is to be at the NGA doing what I love to do. I don’t even think twice when I have to wake up at 4:30 am every Tuesday morning to begin the 50 mile journey to the museum.  I’m currently in gallery #81.  Stop by and say hello!

Vincent van Gogh Roses in Pink

Painting at the NGAMany may not realize that Vincent van Gogh created several versions of “Roses”.   The masterpiece created by VanGogh, “Roses” that is in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. was painted in 1890, shortly before he was released from the asylum at Saint-Remy.  It is among his largest and most beautiful still lifes, with an exuberant bouquet in the glory of full bloom.

Originally, the roses were pink which would have made a beautiful compliment with the green background.  However, the pink has faded throughout the years.  It is difficult to determine which roses and how many were originally pink. I am in the process of copying this piece for the second time.  The first time I copied it just as the it looks today.  For the second try, after doing some research, I took the liberty of painting it in the manner that I believe van Gogh created the original–with the pink roses.  After careful observation, I decided that the flowers that have the slightest tinge of pink were probably the ones that he painted in pink. It’s been fun to see how this painting has evolved and how it will end up.  It should be completed in about one more session.

One can view the original creation as well as my copy on Tuesdays from 10:30 AM until about 4:00 PM in the Impressionist Gallery #83.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

MET - NYC full view
Copying Renoir “Still Life with Peaches”

I’ve put another check mark on my bucket list.  As a high school student living in New York City, I often took trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. As I walked through the great galleries, the feelings I experienced were multiple.  It was almost unrealistic that someone could actually paint such magnificent works of art.  I remember being entranced, walking around in a state of awe, not quite understanding what I was feeling, but happy to be there soaking in such beauty and color while observing the unbelievable skills of the master artists.

During the time period of July 8 through July 19, 2013, I realized a dream I thought could never happen. I became a Copyist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I was doing what I loved in my own home town –  the beloved city of New York.  After a long application process I was accepted in the program, one of five copyists selected for the summer season.  I copied Auguste Renior’s “Still Life with Peaches.” It was an unbelievable experience to be so close to that magnificent painting.  I met art lovers from all over the world, exchanged stories, answered many questions while loving everyday and every moment.  The museum staff was wonderful and helpful.  The copy drew tremendous interest and many positive comments from the patrons.

A special thanks to my dear friends Camille and Joe who opened their city apartment to me.  It is conveniently located and enabled me to travel daily to the MET with a load of art supplies.  Without their generosity and support, this experience may have never happened.