This October an November I have been honing my skills, I took an amazing workshop at Zwick Academy of Fine Art (ZAFA) entitled “Master Copy Workshop”. We worked on a master painting copy of a work by John Singer Sargent – I chose “Lady Agnew” I am mostly done copying the detail, and ready to show the results. First we worked on the value study. This turned out to be quite enlightening for understanding the overall tones of the piece. It was years since I had worked with charcoal, and I found out I really love it for a drawing medium.
Then we worked on color studies (not pictured), before launching into the real deal. We used a nice color print out in lieu of being able to spend a month in front of the actual paintings. Every time I mixed a skin tone, I found myself saying “Needs more purple!” Sargent is a surprisingly saturated colorist. I look forward to the changes this will bring to future pieces as I incorporate the lessons learned by studying Sargent’s careful yet expressive painting style which I would classify as “effort-filled effortlessness”. I can highly recommend William Zwick’s classes. He’s an excellent teacher! I learned more in less time by doing this master copy under his mentorship than I would have if I had picked up a brush and done it without guidance. Maybe I will end up doing more copies in the future, and I would even dare to do them solo now, but I think the process of being guided through this copy helps me know how I would go about it in the future if left to my own devices. It takes a lot of research if you plan to replicate the painting down to the technique and palette. I was grateful to have that footwork in place already for this piece.
There is a little glare on the photo, but I think it is not hampering the viewing of my copy too much. Also, the piece is not varnished yet. I will post again when I have the necklace done and the varnish done (which will deepen the colors), but you can see that the detail is almost complete. I am planning to frame this and hang it in my studio to remind me how to soften my edges. What a great way to spend October of 2017!
I returned to ZAFA in November to work on my master copy-earned skills with some life painting sessions, and painted a portrait of the absolutely gorgeous model posing at ZAFA for the week.
Here she is with her painting. Posing for hours like that is not easy. She did a great job of standing still for the 9 hours (!) it took us all to paint her likeness.
I worked hard to soften the edges and was pleased with the results, as was the model who bought the piece – I always love it when a painting finds its home. ZAFA is one of the few places you can go on Oahu for a multi-session life painting experience, which I highly recommend if you are looking to hone skills and learn to paint beyond the confines of a a photo. As of 2017, it is on Fridays and you can sign up with ZAFA to get notice of the status of the sessions. We are lucky to have high quality art resources like this close at hand. Maybe I will see you there, fellow Oahu artists!