Copying from the Masters

Posted on Categories:still life, Will Kemp

Why copying from the masters is your best strategy

In my opinion, it’s far, far easier to understand how great paintings work, and then use those painting principles to create your own pieces.

One painting a week, even one painting a month you would soon have a collection.

I’ve been spending a lot of time learning with this year and both Will Kemp and Daniel Edmondson highly recommend that we do this

Here’s why: pretty much every painting technique you need to learn has been done before. And often these are your favorite paintings.

To make a painting work, you need to learn from the best. So pick a painting, and pick a section from it. You don’t have to paint the whole picture. Just a small section to start with. And try to copy it.

I painted a detail of a Cezanne painting. It was published in the coffee table book I bought at the bookstore of the Philadelphia Museum of Art during one of the large Cezanne retrospective shows.

SM Cezanne Corrected

It not brilliant, but I was surprised. And I really like the blue swan!

Was it perfect? No

Did I improve my painting? Definitely.

To use color well, I began to understand how muted some colors actually are, even if at first glance they seem bright

And that’s hard since I am a beginner and I just don’t have the skills I need.