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Thread: [ALL]: Assignment #1: Master Copy for warm-up...

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    [ALL]: Assignment #1: Master Copy for warm-up...

    Hi, All!

    For the first assignment we're going to do a Master copy (also known as a pastiche). Fun & useful.

    The value of this is simple and direct: the many, many decisions that go into a good painting have been, for the most part, made for you by someone who knows *exactly* What the F88k They're Doing. Your job is to emulate that as closely as possible...and get inside the mind of a Master for a while. While you'll never know *exactly* what colors they used or the order they layered stuff up, you're challenged to make your best guesses to make it all add up right.

    (The other direct value is that you get to hang up an original, hand-painted version of a classic painting in your very own abode. If it turns out.)

    Here are the rules (!) on what kind of painting to use as your "model".:

    1. Naturalistic, non-abstract landscape or still life. Original was done in Oil

    2. Was obviously painted from life, alla prima or in a sitting or two. (No William Bailey or Poussin paintings that took months to execute or are full of glazing, etc!)

    3. Be as sensitive and specific as you are able.Try to match your master work as closely as possible in style, color, brushwork, and feeling--we are NOT being interprative, here.

    4. Keep it smallish (11x14 or smaller--but up to you).

    5. Due next Sunday, December 12th, anytime.

    6. Post in-progress pix if at all possible--it's very helpful for everyone!

    7. Post constructive thoughts and crits--at any time-- for as many other painters as possible!

    8. Try to get several sources of reference. Color repros are notoriously variable. Pick the one you think looks best.

    Have at it, and post any questions you have--maybe someone else has the same question.


    Nick

    p.s. Link to this Workshop's general format: http://www.conceptart.org/forums/sho...d.php?t=175735

    p.p.s. As an example: Here's a Corot painting I did a copy of, back in my college days, for a very similar assignment:

    Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot. The Colosseum Seen through the Arcades of the Basilica of Constantine. 1825. Oil on canvas. 23 x 35 cm. Louvre, Paris, Fran
    Last edited by rusko-berger; December 5th, 2009 at 04:16 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Here's something amusing! I dug up the copy I did, 21 years ago, of that Corot painting. I'm guessing that I spent 3-ish hours on it.

    Obviously, I had no idea what I was doing, but it was during that Fall semester in 1988 that something clicked and I really started learning how to paint...and that was an *amazing* time in my life.

    Nick
    Last edited by rusko-berger; December 5th, 2009 at 09:06 PM.
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    Hi-ho,

    I should prolly add that this project is intentionally non-didactic. Your chosen Master Painter is your teacher and guide in this expedition. Other than that, it's you, your materials, your decisions, and whatever experience level you bring to it.

    In future projects I might discuss various applicable concepts and techniques and craft an assignment around it, though I picture a good deal of those things happening in the course of our various thread discussions.

    Doing the first proj this way helps me by getting to see where people are at, but more importantly I hope that it encourages peeps to use this forum-dojo as a central discussion area where people ask questions, show progress, express grooviness or frustration, and generally interact.
    The more activity and interaction there is, the more (and more well-earned!) our darkened white belts become.

    Choppy choppy chow-chow,
    Nick

    p.s. As far as questions for me--never hesitate to post whatever they are. I'll clarify or explain anything you need as soon as I can. Never be afraid that a question will somehow reflect badly on you or your worth as a serious artist.
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    Thanks Nick I apreciate it! Lets make an awesome dojo Alright I was looking for a landscape to study and I thought this one of Corot would work well, I feel it's complexity is something I could handle.

    Question: If I understand correctly I just make one post in this thread and update it with WIPS? As well could you suggest some artists for this assignment to study? I found a painting but I do not know my art history!

    This is the painting I am studying. Looking forward to seeing everyone elses!

    Edit: Spent two hours on this, going to redue it tommrow some areas are very poorly drawn. Is this how you would go about ths Nick? I basically did a quick sketch with some Raw Sienna then mixed the basic colors that I saw then began working in the paint.

    Edit2: Another two hours spent, redid the wholething since I was being careless last time. Ill continue working on this one tommrow. I noticed I have a hard time mixing the same earthy tones that I see in Corot's painting. Mixed alot of my values to dark but I guess that just means I can bring them back up to lighter values. I should try working wet on wet next time. Working on a white canvas isnt nessisarly a good way to work.

    Edit3: Been adjusting some of the shapes and refineing some of the colors. Just spent 90 min on it today. I've busted a misconception I've had though. I've always been rushing to finish stuff in one sitting. Perhapse a good way to keep the work flow up is to work on a whole number of different things though out the day to keep interested. Heck work on 2-3 things and just alternate though them every few hours.

    Edit4: Thanks Nick, took all your replys into consideration and it helped =) I love the colors on that guys paintings wow. Expetually the ones on the left.

    Took the photo in more natural light today since it wasnt 3 AM hah! Ill try makeing a good reproduction on sunday. Any suggestions useing just a SLR and a regular zoom lens? I feel the colors are closer today just remixed them all. Mixing that darker green on the left is very hard though. Tends to either come out to cool or to desaturated. Tried mixing a cad orange and ultramarine together and got a nice greenish brown. Think ill try something similar for that green tommrow.

    Edit5: Tried the whitebalance thing but for some reason it made my image look very green. Color is difficult Lots of work to be done. I agree Nick painting and drawing is something you just learn by doing. Mentors and teachers just speed things up! And I guess basically kick our asses and just tell us to work ya?
    Last edited by AlexEh; December 13th, 2009 at 11:14 PM.
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    Dylan--

    Nice choice of Corot painting, and you're off to a good start on your piece. Be as specific as possible with small passages when you get to them.

    Yup: make a post and update it to keep it all organized.

    I want to post some more examples, but I'm having very bad computer probs-- as in "end of its life" stuff-- so it'll hafta wait. But some quick examples: the less abstract Cezannes, Diebenkorn's early knife & tomatoes stuff & landscapes (etc), some Fairfield Porter, some Bonnard, and Vuillard to start.

    Also..thanks for being First!

    best,
    Nick
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    Cmooon everyone! Bust out them OILS!!!
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    Dylan--


    Quote Originally Posted by Dy.laneA View Post
    Edit: Spent two hours on this, going to redue it tommrow some areas are very poorly drawn. Is this how you would go about ths Nick? I basically did a quick sketch with some Raw Sienna then mixed the basic colors that I saw then began working in the paint.
    Nick: A redo...ok, good tough guy! You coulda pulled the other one out of the fire, but if something irks you that badly, sometimes a fresh start is in order if it inspires you more. As a general and boilerplate rule (and there are a few good exceptions) I start with a Burnt Umber & turp wash to block stuff in. I like to work from a middle-ish value, then darker to lighter. Even though the Umber's diluted, 1) I can control it's density/value, and 2) it just reads as "dark" to me in a shorthand kind of way. After a while, the underpainting is dry enough to have left its mark, so I buff the canvas lightly with a rag. While this does lighten it up more, it dries it further and you can get some very quick value variations that can indicate light. Anything that gets too light is easily gone over again. By the time you start painting over it, you can float paint on top of it or (by how hard you apply the brush) mix other paint into it. This slight mixing functions as a sort of "under glaze" that can help unify the painting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dy.laneA View Post
    Edit2: I noticed I have a hard time mixing the same earthy tones that I see in Corot's painting. Mixed alot of my values to dark but I guess that just means I can bring them back up to lighter values. I should try working wet on wet next time. Working on a white canvas isnt nessisarly a good way to work.
    Nick: Keep mixing & experimenting with adding little bits of complementary colors and white. If you can identify the problem as clearly as you did, practicing your mixes to match is just a matter of practice. Many of all our biggest issues stem from being unable to perceive or identify our problems.

    White canvases are scary! I have several methods: One is that I prime a canvas and then ground it with acrylics, ink, or oil (generally medium-dark and earth-toney). Often, I'll use Burnt Umber, Burnt Sienna, and Ultramarine Blue for a little warm/cool variation. Then I apply it all wacky as shite so it's not too even. This is a fun place to experiment by flicking it with water, letting pools form and dry, and making subtle abstract designs. If you don't like it later and it doesn't fit, you can paint over it...but if it's yummy, sometimes some pleasant and unexpected things arise from it. I have a couple of crazy-colored grounded canvases to play with to keep me from getting in a habit-rut.

    If I know what the canvas will be used for, I'll work towards that end. Since Spring & Summer landscapes are so green, then brownish-reddish (complementary) grounds are a great place to start, and they function similarly under cool white and blue skies.

    If I'm starting with a white canvas, I cover it up in the first sitting using the washes I mentioned, . My rule of thumb is: make it complementary, reasonably saturated, and make it midtone-dark. The benefit of this method is that you can tailor it to be a very specific pre-planning stage based on the exact things you're looking at. You hafta play a little chess with your painting.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dy.laneA View Post
    Edit3: I've always been rushing to finish stuff in one sitting. Heck work on 2-3 things and just alternate though them every few hours.
    Nick: A wise observation! Getting tired, subliminally losing interest, and having your brain habituated to your setup/painting (which is when you start accepting everything as fact, and/or painting from memory) are all helped by breaks and freshy-fresh Other Projects...just like you said.[/I]



    Keep hitting it.

    Nick
    Last edited by rusko-berger; December 10th, 2009 at 11:54 PM.
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    Here are some of those Diebenkorns I was talking about.

    What fantastic paintings: keenly observed, unfussy, original, beautiful, and muscular yet sensitive. This workshop (and my great painter heroes) are not only about Old Masters...they're about any Masters.

    I chose several Diebenkorns that show how his unique sensibilities (composition, color, paint application) run through his work, no matter the subject matter. Look at that detail of the "Knife in a Glass" painting...it could be one of the Ocean Park series (two of which are at the bottom). The (huge) Ocean Park series would never have come about without the natural progression from his lifelong observational work (and especially his landscapes of Northern California).

    Tangentially, Diebenkorn shows very clearly how "Style" (as a positive thing) is not something you appropriate, tack-on, or really consciously apply. Style, at its bedrock, is simply a series of things you've found interesting, executed in a way you've found interesting. Over and over. (Someone said--I forget who--that most artists have two or three important things that they revisit forever.) The good ones always find new and interesting things to perceive and say about their White Whales.

    Dick Diebenkorn-ly,
    Nick
    Last edited by rusko-berger; December 11th, 2009 at 01:12 AM.
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    Sorry i took so long getting here

    I chose 'Rocks Near L'Estanque' by Cezanne as my 'model' . Spent a long time looking and it grabbed me instantly.

    First WIP. I've spent around 3-4 hours on it so far.

    EDIT: I went to hobbycraft today to reload on white paint, got a nice big 200ml tube of winton and also a bottle of linseed oil to try out, and a real cheap palette knife. The linseed oil is pretty nice but i didnt really use it too much, the palette knife however is AWESOME. Ive spent the last few hours working with only the palette knife on the canvas and it has been so much fun
    (WIP2 added)

    EDIT 2: Spent a good few hours today just going back over it adjusting colours and experimenting with different ways of applying paint. Maybe a bit (a lot) overworked seeing as its not much different from the previous WIP, but i learned a lot of from the extra time spent on it.

    will leave some crits/comments in the morning when everyones had time to post their final
    Last edited by philzero; December 13th, 2009 at 10:45 PM. Reason: WIP update
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    Heya, Phil--

    Quote Originally Posted by philzero View Post
    I chose 'Rocks Near L'Estanque' by Cezanne as my 'model' . Spent a long time looking and it grabbed me instantly.
    Nick: You also picked a winner to work from and are off to a good start. Cezanne was a mighty mofo, and his Estaque works are beautiful..


    EDIT: I went to hobbycraft today to reload on white paint, got a nice big 200ml tube of winton and also a bottle of linseed oil to try out, and a real cheap palette knife. The linseed oil is pretty nice but i didnt really use it too much, the palette knife however is AWESOME. Ive spent the last few hours working with only the palette knife on the canvas and it has been so much fun
    Nick: A palette knife is a great tool. Not only is it a liberating tactile change from a brush, it also forces one to give up any thoughts of drawing with the paint and to lose the "pencil grip" often used with brushes. (By the same token, it's good practice to use that palette knife grip on brushes to change your habits up.)

    Another knife benefit is that it works both ways: trowleing the paint on AND scraping it off if the paint becomes unmanageable.


    Keep it up!

    Nick
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    Hi, Everyone--

    Less than 25 hours left to post your Master copies to this thread!

    When posting your finals to your threads, do your best to make the photo(s) as close to your real painting as possible; a proper crit involving, among other things, color and value will be much more useful when it's based on a faithful photograph. One or two close-up details would also be a BiG help.

    After Sunday @ Midnight (GMT -5), while I absolutely encourage additional and ongoing discussions of the works posted (I won't lock/close threads), I'll be primarily focusing on the next thread. I'll check back when I can, though.

    Keep working...


    Nick
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dy.laneA View Post
    Edit4:. Any suggestions useing just a SLR and a regular zoom lens?
    Nick:What kind & model is your camera? Film or digital? Also, do you have Photoshop?

    When it's important to be very accurate, I use a tripod or brace. I have a Canon G10 and I use about half of the available digital zoom (which is "real" zoom and doesn't just crop a normal-res image). This alleviates most of the "fish eye bubble" distortion of the lens at its normal state. As for color, I use several of the modes for various "perceptions". One handy thing (if it's available on your camera) is to do a set using manual white balance settings. This compensates for particularly blue or yellow lights. When I'm all done I'll open Photoshop, select the best one, and (primarily) use Levels, Color Balance, and Shadow/Highlight to make the picture match my original.


    I feel the colors are closer today just remixed them all. Mixing that darker green on the left is very hard though. Tends to either come out to cool or to desaturated. Tried mixing a cad orange and ultramarine together and got a nice greenish brown. Think ill try something similar for that green tomorow.
    Nick: I'm having a hard time telling since the latest photo is very washed-out. Other things to keep in mind: 1) Edges. Your edges have gotten pretty hard considering that their masses are pretty opaque. Here's an example. The largest roof (in Corot's) certainly has a fairly crisp-edged shadow cast by the far-right chimney. But when I look at it, that's not what I notice. What makes his convincing is that I see it as an overlay on top of the way he's painted the sunny part of the roof. 2) Keep things unified. Your latest session seems to show you giving every group of "things" its own little island (that's your Left Brain insisting on everything's Separateness). Pay attention to how Corot describes everything while keeping it both unified and believable as something we know existed under the conditions he was viewing it. Check my example pic!
    Last edited by rusko-berger; December 13th, 2009 at 01:24 AM.
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    hey, I just to came across this neat lttle thread.

    I wanted to do a little study anyway.. I will start in a few hours... first I have to eat something.

    p.s. I`ll paint a Venice piece from Sargent, saw a couple of those last year and they overwhelmed me!

    cu

    MR
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