The Artist Begins…

The Artist Begins…

In 2009, I enrolled in an art class and began painting with oils. The class instructor was a French painter who had us recreate works on canvas from great artists. This classical approach of emulating the works of masters is how all artists begin the learning process. Primarily, this act requires one to plan the understructure of shapes in order to create movement and excitement within a painting. In the process of recreating a classic painting, it is important to use the eye and the mind.

One must analyze the specific techniques are employed such as the lighting, brush strokes and the use of color. Art historians, know that the early works of any artist are reflective of the other classic works of their day. One will see that the first paintings and drawings are copies of works by great artists of their period and often began with images in a figurative or representational style with recognizable subjects.

In my initial class, my first paintings were copies of works by O’Keefe, Van Gogh, Monet, Picasso and Leger. What attracted me was the vigorous brushwork in which the outlines were dissolved and forms were created by atmospheric fields of color and light. Here is one of my earliest paintings, a copy of Van Gogh’s A Wheatfield with Cypresses from 2011:

One artist said, “It takes 10,000 brushstrokes to begin to understand the real dynamics of painting. “ In my evolution as a painter, this is a spot-on accurate statement for the time it has taken for me to mature stylistically.

In my next entries, I will discuss how my paintings are born from the inspiration and works by great American painters of the 20th century. Thank you again for joining me.

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