I decided to leave the pear as-is and pursue my next art project. My teacher suggested that I pick a painting of a still-life to copy. Later I can reproduce the still-life in reality and paint it again.

Copying paintings as a way of learning technique dates back to the beginning of painting. It’s like doing an internship in art. The student doesn’t have to make any choices about color, texture, composition, etc., because a previous artist has already done so. The student just focuses on technique. And in my case, on figuring out how to match colors as well.

I picked this painting of lemons by Helen van Wyck.
I liked it because it focuses on one color, and trying to copy something with a ton of color intimidates me. Also, this looks like a composition I could reproduce with real lemons without much difficulty.

First I measured the proportions of the paintings and divided my canvas to have the same proportions. Then I used charcoal to draw an outline of the lemons on my canvas.

My art teacher studied under Helen van Wyck, and she tells me that Helen knocked that lemon painting out in 30 minutes. It was a demonstration she did for a TV show. Elizabeth, my art teacher, said that because of the hurry Helen didn’t worry too much about the composition, at least in terms of where the horizon break occurs. She suggested that I move the horizon up to make the composition more interesting. So I did that.

I sprayed my charcoal drawing with AquaNet, let it dry, and commenced the transparent underpainting.

Using what I’ve previously learned, I reproduced the three major tones: light, mid-tone, and shadow. It creates a template for what gets painted over the top.

Now comes color. I painted a mid-tone cloth (which I will need to color-correct) and focused on matching hue, chroma, and tone in the shadow areas.

Here’s a view of the painting and my copy together.

It took until the last five minutes of class for me to figure out hue in the shadows. Now that I feel like I have that under control, I can finish this painting up next week.

I’m having fun with this one.

By the way, I haven’t put any white paint on yet — that’s just canvas poking through!

Categories: Art

Tags: , ,

4 replies

  1. Once again, that is so cool!

  2. You are inspiring me to try painting lessons! I really have no talent, and doubt I could create anything this cool, but it might be fun to try and would probably help my brain be less “flabby”!

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