September 30, 2014

Cézanne, day 4

Another good copying day! I took a 2 mile walk around the city this morning before the Gallery opened (my ride got me into town early), and got to the museum right at 10:00. Jumped right in mixing batches of colors. For this painting I'm working from a limited palette of Permalba white, cadmium yellow medium, cadmium red light, alizarin, manganese blue, ultramarine blue, and burnt umber. Using these, I mixed as many different colors as I could discern in Cézanne's painting. I know that my pigments are different from what he used, but since I am not making a forgery, I don't care about being authentic here. It's good to get close enough. I like to mix enough different colors that I can just choose among them as I'm painting, much like choosing pastels out of a box.

I worked for a long time on the white cloth in the bottom of the painting. I also roughed in some color on the hanging fabric, and started painting the fruit. I got interrupted quite a bit today, but generally enjoyed the conversations I had with visitors. The time flew by (and I took a long lunch and walked through the Andrew Wyeth exhibit down the hall), so I still haven't quite covered all the white canvas. I feel like I'm on the right track, and will keep painting and repainting different areas until I feel I've gotten close enough. Copying Cézanne is a whole education in itself, and I'm thoroughly enjoying it. I'm going to take all the time I need with this one.

click the images for a larger view

Here is a photo taken of me with museum visitor Stephanie, taken by her boyfriend Ben.

September 16, 2014

Cézanne, day 3

Another absolutely beautiful day in DC! I have gotten into the habit of walking an hour a day, so today I took the Metro in (my friend and driver, Katie, didn't go to her office today), and got off at Foggy Bottom, the first station in DC, so I would get my walk in. The weather was absolutely perfect and I enjoyed my brisk walk of almost 3 miles, including a stop for breakfast at a Starbucks on the way.

This painting does not want to be painted in a hurry. Cézanne worked and reworked - you can see the thick build-up of paint in many areas. I'm still trying to get the white canvas covered, first pass. Then I'll go back and paint over everything again.

This is how much I got done before lunch.
(click the images for a larger view.)

After lunch, I had just gotten back to my easel when I was completely surrounded by a large group of foreign visitors who crowded me - I felt like I was in a football huddle. One was asking me questions, and I was starting to answer him, when I heard the guard call out, "Please step away from the easel!" The group quickly backed off and hurriedly left the room. The guard was surprised to see me standing there - I had been completely hidden by the group (I am not very tall!) We had a good laugh about it, and I told the guard he had saved me. Some people from other countries don't understand our desire for personal space!

I continued to work on the large background cloth. My colors are brighter than the Cézanne - as one visitor told me, mine looks as if the painting has been cleaned. But when I go over all these areas again, I will get closer to the right colors. I don't know if Cézanne did glazing (I guess I could research that...)

End of Day 3

I walked back to the same station to go home, so another 3-mile walk! I'm making the most of the unusually glorious weather we've had all summer. I should sleep well tonight.

September 9, 2014

Cézanne, day 2

Missed a week, but got back to the Gallery for the second day on my copy of "Still LIfe with Apples and Peaches" by Paul Cézanne. It was a good day. I realize that this painting will require some time if I want it to look like his. I've read that Cézanne painted and repainted many times, and it shows - many layers of paint, some wet into wet, some painted over dry paint. I tend to be a one-shot kind of painter, but paintings really look so much more interesting when you can see some of the struggle that went into making them. (Some struggle, but not too much!) :-)

My copy so far is much, much simpler than his, of course - it looks kind of like a paint-by-numbers at this point. But I will keep going back into each part until it looks better. Also, as I'm breaking up the larger shapes of the cloth into the smaller shapes of the design of the fabric, I'm finding the errors in my drawing - the smaller shapes are not quite fitting... but this is perfectionism, and I'm going to try my best to not care too much about it. This is my first pass at getting the colors and shapes right.

a detail of Cézanne...

...and a detail of mine (I did a little more after I took this picture)

at the end of today
(click on the images for a larger view)