14 March 2010

In the Footsteps of Giants

Imitation is the highest compliment, the saying goes. I'm currently taking a life drawing class with a professor from University of CT and loving it. Nothing like a piece of charcoal or a pencil and paper to get down to the nitty-gritty of art-making!

It's not easy though. Often my nudes look more like a dwarf from Snow White (probably Dopey), but one perseveres. Thank god for erasers.

Then I noted that Michelle at Following the Masters was offering another Challenge -- the Italian Renaissance Masters. Wonderful! If you're going to do it big, it might as well be the Giants: Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo DaVinci, Botticelli.

So today being a cold and rainy Sunday with my husband my son working, I decided to try and paint some nudes using one main oil color. Below is the work I submitted to Michelle a few minutes ago.

Raphael's Female Nude
copy by K. Marszycki
oil on archival board

Of course, in my haste to finish it and send it off, I neglected to paint in the figure on the far right and thus she looks like she's trying to hitch a ride by thumbing it . . . duh.

And this one is Durer's Female Nude; although not Italian, I do love Durer's work -- so solid and dense.

Durer's Female Nude
copy by K. Marszycki
oil on archival board

I found that working with the oil was a pleasant way to sketch, oil being a very forgiving medium if a stroke had to be removed. And working with one color -- either burnt or raw siena -- made the process simple and relaxing.

However, the dimensions of these women were another matter. We modern folk are so used to thinking in terms of waistlines and longer legs (after all, we are taller than the people who lived over 400 years ago), that I had to adjust my sense of density and bulk.

But for a rainy Sunday, these two sketches proved to be a great way to warm up. I then painted several more riverscapes, continuing a fascination I have with water and light. My goal is to have about 18-20 oils and mixed media works under this theme of waterscapes. So far I have 13.

Then, watch out New York! Well, one can dream, can't one? :-)


Caterina Giglio said...

thumbing a ride? ha! I interpreted the extended arm, as beseeching someone unseen and thought it quite provocative!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Great way to spend a Sunday. You are so right about using the oil in this manner...washes of burnt sienna are so beautiful!

Don said...

Just found your blog and I'm enjoying it. Need more time though. I'll be back.

Kelly M. said...

See, less is best -- I should have kept my mouth shut -- lol!

I agree, Mary Ann, there is something about those siena washes that give that vintage, aged look.

Welcome, Don! I just added you to my links list -- hope you'll visit again!

Anonymous said...

I like the way that you were still able to give a really linear look to your oil paintings. It is quite lovely. I've never tried to copy one of the masters- but that is how they all learned. I'm thinking I may try it in the future. Thanks for the inspiration. I'll have to get out my sketchbook about this before I forget!

layers said...

I used to go to life drawing every week for years-- when I started teaching workshop all over the country I eventually gave up the life drawing- but I have fond memories and I applaud your drawings and paintings of nudes.