Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Sargent Knockoff -Helen Dunham























When first getting seriously back into oil painting about 6 or 7 years ago, I decided to start by diving in the deep end of the pool and "reverse engineer" a number of paintings by accomplished artists of the past. This, one of my favorite John Singer Sargent paintings of Helen Dunham, is probably the most successful. Done to scale from a meticulously studied drawing, it took me a looonng time to do. And the punchline of course is, I didn't miraculously turn into Sargent upon completing it. But I did learn a lot.
I still like this and it hangs in my house, but it needs to be restretched and given a nice frame...

8 comments:

  1. welcome to e-caricatures and congratulations for your blog and a work

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  2. Thanks Justin -thanks for clicking on Door #2 ;)

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  3. I did that a couple of times, once with one of Sargent's military portraits and once with his portrait of Teddy Rooseveldt. Didn't do them full size though, probably should have. Yours looks good!

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  4. Thanks! I like the Teddy Roosevelt; that's another favorite!
    I did a few knockoffs small scale intially, but I found full size gave me a better idea of just what kind of brush strokes were employed. The only thing that tops that, in terms of learning is probably to do a study from the actual painting itself in whatever museum it's in. Haven't done that yet.

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  5. One of my classmates often said :"What would Sargent do?" in his second year. I thought it was hilarious :) Love the oil painting:)

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  6. There's a PDF of Sargeant's teaching methods floating round the internet, and in it there's a description of Sargeant giving a demo and pacing towards and away from his canvas muttering to himself things like:
    "Reynolds would done it".
    So, reassuringly, we all have our "What would _ do?" sources of inspiration. ;)

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  7. Beautiful, thinking of doing a study from a sargent as soon. This might just be the inspiration i need.

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  8. Thanks Will! -I got a lot out of doing the copies.
    Sargent did a lot of copies himself -he went to Spain to do copies of Velázquez's paintings at the Prado...

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