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.

 

 

 

 

 

CHILDREN PLAYING ON THE BEACH

Mary Cassatt was the “new woman” of the 19th century – a highly-trained artist who never married.  During the Impressionist Period, when female artists were generally dismissed with contempt and confined to painting indoors, she competed admirably with established male artists.  She even developed a close friendship with Edgar Degas while living and working in France, and the two became close collaborators for a long period of time.

By 1866, Cassatt had established herself as a uniquely skilled painter of mothers and children.  Many believe Children Playing on the Beach was a tribute to her sister, who died in 1882, and was perhaps inspired by a trip she took with her ailing mother to Spain, where the two sought the healing power of the seaside climate.  Whatever the muse, this work was clearly special to her.

Children Playing on the Beach (original and copy in progress)
Children Playing on the Beach, 1884, Mary Cassatt (original and copy in progress)

Children Playing on the Beach is very special to me. It was a favorite of my late husband, who never got to see it in person, and after it was relocated to Gallery #85, I simply couldn’t resist copying it.

I also love this work because it’s one of the best demonstrations of Cassatt’s superior skill with color and process.  Palettes were quite limited at that time, and yet she’s able to bring out so many shades that the painting almost appears to echo contrasting moods.  For example, the subtle blues of the ocean and sky effectively convey the feeling of cool, possibly dreary weather over the sea, while the vivid blues she uses in the girls’ dresses evoke a feeling of warmth, sunshine and happiness.  She was an absolute genius with color.

As most paints do, Mary Cassatt’s have aged over time.  I could have chosen to copy Children Playing on the Beach using my interpretation of the colors she used in 1884, but instead I chose to create a copy as close to the current version as possible. As always, it will be a challenge because matching color is one of the most difficult tasks a copyist faces.

I’ve learned a great deal from Mary Cassatt. Her remarkable use of color as well as her ability to manipulate brush and paint to create beautiful strokes is inspirational. Join me in Gallery #85 where I’ll be working on copying another wonderful Impressionist painting The Harbor at Lorient, 1869, by Berthe Morisot.

 

 

 

“The Harbor at Lorient” after Berthe Morisot

Copy in progress
Copy in progress

I’m back in the Impressionist gallery, #85, at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.  I spent a couple of months in the American Gallery painting “Right and Left” after Winslow Homer.  I love the excitement and activity of the Impressionist Galleries.  It’s a bit noisier than other galleries but even some of the guards like it best for the same reasons I do.

The “Harbor at Lorient” is a little jewel that I’ve wanted to paint since it came into the gallery.  But because paintings are often sent out on loan to museums around the world, I had to wait for it to come back from tour even though I had previous approval on availability.

Berthe Morisot is the first female artist whose work I have copied, although we have many wonderful paintings by women artists. The “Harbor at Lorient” was painted when Berthe visited her newly married sister, Edma Pontillon, in the summer of 1869 while she was living in Lorient, France.  Edma was married to a navy man and did not have children.  Since both girls were interested in painting they were free to spend their time painting outside.  During this period Berthe was experimenting with a highly Impressionist style.

The “Harbor at Lorient” draws the eye to the sky’s refection in the water and expresses both movement and the future.  The boats in the background are leaving from the port and moving to another location,  a symbolic reason to create this work as she moved into Impressionism.  The harbor is lit from the right hand side which is clear from the line of shading that runs across Edma’s body.  Her parasol protects her face from the sunlight but the bottom of her dress is radiant in sunlight.  The tone of this work is merry and positive.

When Berthe returned home she anxiously showed her painting to artist friends and colleagues and it was declared as one of her best works.  It found it’s way to the first Impressionists showcase. Unfortunately, the  “Harbor at Lorient” received a critical reception, deemed painted too spontaneously and casually for the time period and with an unfinished feel.   However, after her death, the painting was displayed in a large number of countries and has been well-received by its many viewers who today acknowledge it as one of her foremost Impressionist paintings.

Berthe was influenced by Carot, Manet and Monet.  She was very close to her sister Edma, who was the model in many of her paintings.  Berthe Morisot was a copyist at the Louvre.  She is fast becoming my favorite female artist.

Scenes of Frederick Ornaments 2015 — Right and Left by Winslow Homer

Holiday Ornaments
Holiday Ornaments

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Two years ago I began painting scenes of Frederick and other significant memorabilia on holiday ornaments.  These ornaments have been very well received by the public and have become a valuable imagepiece of one-of-a-kind artwork for many collectors.  This year I’ve added additional scenes and have created some commission pieces of homes and pets.

The ornaments of Frederick landmarks as well as blank note cards of winter scenes in Frederick are available for sale at The Candy Kitchen, 52 N. Market St., Frederick, MD  21701 (301) 698-0442, and at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Education Center, 40 S. Carroll St. Frederick, MD 21701 (301) 698-0656.  For special orders and commissions, please contact me through the SALES AND COMMISSIONS form on this web-site.

 

Right and Left – Winslow Homer Original and copy in progress

Right and Left, a 1909 painting by American artist Winslow Homer, is the copy I’m currently producing at the National Gallery of Art. It’s quite a change from the Impressionist gallery where I painted for the past three years. It is a substantially different style. Also, I am physically located in a different gallery within the museum, one in which quietness and tranquility rule so I can concentrate with fewer distractions although I miss the hustle and bustle of the Impressionist galleries.

Homer painted  Right and Left a year before his death and is a culminating achievement of an extraordinary career.  The title, provided by a viewer during the works first public showing, refers to the act of shooting the ducks successively with separate barrels of a shotgun.  Scholars have suggested that the diving posture of the duck on the right indicates it is the one which has been hit by the hunter’s initial blast.  Its mate is attempting to escape the second shot which has just been fired, the flash of the shotgun barely visible within the gray smoke at the middle left.

This painting makes you want to stare at it and wonder what thoughts were on Homer’s mind as he worked.  Perhaps he wanted to convey an ambiguous message deliberately, in order to illustrate that crucial moment of transition between life and death.  Not ever being interested in hunting, I find this painting a bit sad but it is magnificently painted and although void of the brilliant colors of the Impressionist, it is filled with beautiful paint strokes and emotion.

I will be at the National Gallery of Art, gallery #68, working on this piece every Tuesday until mid December when I expect to complete my copy of Right and Left.

Paul Cezanne “Riverbank” Day 3

A difference that is immediately noticed in the above photo is the color.  “Riverbank” was painted in 1895.  One of the most asked questions from visitors while I’m painting  regards the noticeable differences in colors.  Am I purposely changing the color of my copy?  The answer is no.  The differences are traced to the age of the original painting.  Time, atmosphere, dust, and climate have faded and discolored many of the original works.  I often wonder if the original painting as it was painted looked more like my copy  in both color and brightness.   Eventually, my intention is to tweak and tone down the colors with a glaze to make them look more like the original.  However, in some cases, visitors or a client might like the brighter, more colorful look.  I may choose to stay somewhere in between.

Although Cezanne has always been considered an Impressionist and his masterpieces hang in the Impressionism gallery at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., his association with Impressionism was a brief and unsatisfactory one, a marriage of convenience rather than a true affair of the heart.  Initially, he welcomed the opportunity to exhibit his paintings in the company of some of the impressionists he respected, namely Pissarro, Renoir and Monet.  Cezanne was a ‘high strung’ individual, and often experienced dark depressions and irrational outbursts of anger with even his most loyal friends.  He eventually disassociated himself from the impressionists.  The weather seemed to affect his moods often having to deal with long periods of rain and dreariness which prevented him from going outdoors to do what he loved best, paint the light.

Regarding the weather, I imagine many of us are feeling like Cezanne with the winter of our discontent this year.  We have barely recovered from the last snow and ice storm and must now prepare for an even larger amount of the white stuff.  We’re expecting up to  14″ of snow tonight and strong winds tomorrow.  We’re hoping not to lose power again so I’m rushing to get this blog published just in case.  I will try to keep my “dark depressions and irrational outbursts of anger” to a minimum.

New Exhibit at the Delaplaine

The Frederick County Art Association will open its Member Exhibit with a reception this Saturday, January 4th from 3 to 5 pm at the Delaplaine Visual Arts Center, 40 S. Carroll Street in Frederick, Maryland.  I have entered two works into the exhibit, “Young Dancer” and “Bridge at Argenteuil” after Monet.  I hope to see many of my friends and family at the reception.  It is also First Saturday in downtown Frederick which offers many activities to be enjoyed all over town, not to mention great restaurants and shopping.  So bundle up, come out and enjoy the town as well as great art during the opening of several new exhibits at the Delaplaine.

Young Dancer
Young Dancer
The Bridge at Argenteuil after Claude Monet
The Bridge at Argenteuil after Claude Monet

On Tuesday, January 7th I will be putting the finishing touches on my copy of Vincent van Gogh “Roses” at the National Gallery of Art.  I’m also very excited to see for the first time the NGA’s newest acquisition of van Gogh’s painting “Green Wheat Fields, Auvers,” which has not been seen publicly since 1966 and was painted months before the artist’s death in 1890.  It hangs right next to “Roses” in gallery #83 so I will be able to admire it all day long.

On Tuesday, January 21st I will begin work on Paul Cezanne’s “Landscape near Paris” in the Impressionist gallery.  This masterpiece is a bit different from the ones I’ve previously copied.  It is a very loose oil painting done in thin washes almost like a watercolor. It will be a new challenge for me.  I will keep you posted on the progress.

The Bridge at Argenteuil – Claude Monet

The Bridge at Argenteuil, in copyThe Bridge at Argenteuil by Claude Monet, National Gallery of Art Washington, D.C.  After almost a four hour drive to Washington, D.C. from Frederick, Maryland on a rainy, cold Tuesday morning, I was finally able to start on this wonderful and very popular masterpiece that is all about the glow of light, produced by pure and unmixed color. Monet shows the interplay between the short strokes indicative of the ripples in the water, the focal point of this painting, and the larger areas of color.  The challenge for me will be to reproduce the sparkle of the refections that was so masterfully achieved by Monet.  I have laid out the drawing indicating the larger forms on a toned canvas and have completed most of the underpainting, resisting painting in details. The details will come later and will be the fun part. That’s when the painting begins to sing,  right now it’s humming.

This authentic framed copy is on exhibit and for sale during the Fall 2013 exhibit at Art at the Mill, Burwell-Morgan Mill in Millwood, Virginia.  The exhibit will run from October 5-Coctober 20.