Sunday, February 19, 2012

Master Study Exercises - Study Two

For my first exercise, I picked Nathan Fowkes, an artist of whom I had always admired. This time, I wanted to discover a new artist. Not only am I making a study of another painting, but I am also widening my knowledge base of the artists currently working and producing work I admire.

Back in 2004, I took my first workshop offered through the Scottsdale Artists' School. The workshop met in Old Lyme, Connecticut and was a plein air painting event. The school had about fifteen or so P-A-P-A members at the event who were there to do demonstrations in the mornings and then instruct the students in the afternoons. I loved it, learned a lot and really enjoyed watching the painters approach landscape painting differently. However, the lodging, the workshop itself and the transportation all added up very quickly for me. So, this trip was a splurge, a gift to myself. Later, in 2006, my work was accepted into their "Best and Brightest" competition held in Scottsdale, Arizona. After that show, I promised myself that once my children were raised (I was pregnant at the time with Fred so I was really thinking down the road) I would make sure to attend a week long workshop every year, even if it was not through this particular school. I believe every artist needs at least a week long retreat to get away from work, family, social obligations and the daily routine of life and just concentrate on making art.

Knowing that I will someday partake in doing this workshops again, I periodically peruse the workshops and all the instructors and narrow it down to which workshop I would attend if school suddenly called and said "You've won a free workshop...everything is paid for, come right now!" I know, it's quirky, but it does sometimes lead me down interesting artistic tangents of ideas for classes, interesting artists to explore, possible workshops and books to look through. I also like to call this time "research" even though it's more like indulging in eye candy.

In order to find my next artist, I scrolled through their instructor list looking for an unfamiliar name and I came upon an artist named, Michael Malm.

I really enjoyed his painting of the two figures on the rowboat. It reminded me of the Thomas Eakin's "The Champion" painting; only for the content, not because of the color palette. It made me smile. The Eakin's painting was on the cover of my American art book back in college. Michael's painting is much more colorful and painterly than Eakin's and it seemed like a good challenge. Not to mention, I was pretty certain that was pthalo blue, a color which I never use. I thought, it's probably time to give that a try.

I went through his website, looking for images and content. He frequently uses the Georges de La Tour motif of not showing the candle and having the figures backlit around it. I've always like that in paintings, adds to the drama and narrative of the scene. I mostly enjoy his figurative works, but decided to try my hand at copying the painting that first grabbed my attention. I also read through his artist statement and particularly liked his last paragraph which reads like this:

"I am motivated by life and God's beautiful world around me. When I get bogged down in the studio, and lose the vision of what I am trying to do, I have found that getting outside to observe things as they really appear in first person away from the computer screen, or working from a live model is always so refreshing. I am always amazed at just how rich and beautiful the colors of nature around us really are. It is easy for me to forget when I fail to observe life more than the monitor. The most effective education for me comes from observing from life."

I believe this to be very true. There are times that it is just invigorating to paint from life, whether it is a model or from nature. It's nice to get out of the studio and away from the monitors. It's also nice to slow down and enjoy what is all around us and take the time to actually look at it.

I spent this evening finishing this one up. Just little touches here and there trying to match it the best I could. His original is much bigger than 9" x 12" so I think the copy would be better had I done it larger instead of trying to use little brushes to do all the work, but this study is mostly for color exploration, so I'm not too worried about details.

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