Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Secret Life of the Artist, part 7

Along with the Rembrandt and Rubens paintings I had in the "Influences" show at The Next Picture Show Gallery, I had this painting which is my copy of Frank Tenney Johnson's (no relation) "Somewhere on the Range". I apologize if it's not totally in focus. This is 30" X 36", a large canvas which I did back around 1977 or so. Now, here comes the "Secret Life" connection: Why does one do this copying anyhow? While I was in art school I wanted to make up for years of not doing much art. When I was a kid I would draw, but didn't keep that up. As a result I felt like I was behind and needed to make up for years of neglect. How to learn a lot in a short time. As I said before, Mr. Eugene Hall, my oil painting teacher, told me to copy the masters. I took it to another level. Besides copying Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer and others, I wanted to learn additional techinques that you don't really see in a Vermeer (although you do in Rembrandt). So I started copying FT Johnson for his thick paint and scumbling. I think you can see in the lower right especially, the thick paint scumbled that opens up another dimension on the canvas, kind of a sculptural look. Art school began me on a plan: I worked with the portrait and figure at school. At home I worked on portraits, then figures, multiple figures, figures with animals and finally maany figures and many animals --- see Frederik Remington's "Cavalry Charge on the Southern Plains" which I also copied --- always trying to get more complication and challenge. So now all these many years later I have found my own place: a portrait and Midwest landscape painter, watercolorist, pastellist and pencil artist. My last show, Barns & Farms, at The Next Picture Show Gallery garnered me a 3rd place ribbon and some nice compliments from the judge -- "painting mastery".

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