Copy Famous Paintings – Emil Nolde

emil-nolde

What is it?

A painting titled Windmill”, 1924 by German artist, Emil Nolde

How was this painting done?

Nolde has gone out on a limb with this painting.  Most artists shy away from using black as it is sometimes believed to be a dead colour.  Green is also a difficult colour to mix and can so easily appear garish and take over a painting.

Here the artist has successfully used these two controversial colours.  The black is mixed with a very small amount of green to make a “living black”.  Nolde has mixed a tertiary green and toned it down by placing it directly beside its almost complementary colour, orange.  His placement of these two colours has created energy and vibrancy resulting in a painting that literally jumps off the canvas.

Nolde was a true artist who communicated immediately with his vision, his impulses and his influences. He gave this ordinary scene a disturbing presence.

Why should we care?

Nolde was one of the strongest and most independent of the German Expressionists and a member of the Dresden-based group known as Die Brücke. He was also a supporter of the Nazi party from the early 1920s, having become a member of its Danish section.

Adolf Hitler rejected all forms of modernism as “degenerate art“, and the Nazi regime officially condemned Nolde’s work. Until that time he had been held in great prestige in Germany. A total of 1,052 of Nolde’s paintings were removed from museums, more than those of any other artist. Some were included in the Degenerate Art exhibition of 1937, despite Nolde’s protests.

Nolde was not allowed to paint, even in private, after 1941.  As a matter of necessity, and in secret, he painted hundreds of watercolours in this time, which he hid.  Nolde called them the “Unpainted Pictures”.  The painter, although deprived of his livelihood as an artist, was loyal to the Nazi cause to the bitter end.  Nolde’s troubles, he claimed, were based on a “misunderstanding” and Hitler was simply misled by those around him in rejecting Nolde’s art.

Nolde was not only passionate about his painting, he was also loyal and forgiving, values we all aspire to today.

Where can I see other paintings like it?

Similarities can be seen inWindmill”, 1909 by Erich Heckel 

In this painting, fellow Die Brücke member, Heckel shows a similar use of colour although the brush strokes are much bolder and more like mark making.  Unlike Nolde, the artist has left areas of the canvas uncovered.   

And another expressionist work, “Spring Landscape at the Red House”, 1935 by Edvard Munch

In this landscape, Munch, like Nolde, has used intense colours, semi-abstraction and a mysterious, open-ended theme.

Meditate, relax and enjoy

Take the luxury of “time out” to recreate this fabulous painting in acrylics yourself. There can be no mistakes in making this painting.  Everything ends up as it should be.  Here’s how:

You will need

  • a small canvas, 30cm x 40cm is a good size (recycled is okay as below)
  • tubes of primary acrylic colours, blue, red and yellow plus white
  • a dark water soluble crayon
  • soft nylon paint brushes, (small, medium and a little larger)
  • water in an old container
  • a rag or disposable cloth
  • two or three hours

Tips on the Process

  • prime the canvas first, otherwise, just a wash and dry with a towel
  • print the photo you want to work from, measure and cut into quarters to make your drawing in a grid
  • turn the original photo upside down to make the drawing
  • use a dark coloured water soluble crayon for your drawing
  • correct drawing right-side up from the original
  • erase crayon easily with a damp cloth
  • it is a big plus if the watercolour crayon mark bleeds into the painting
  • everything is easily painted over or blended in with acrylics
  • paint in the background first
  • The painting will not look great at the initial blocking in stage, stay with it for a pleasant surprise
  • try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
  • acrylics dry darker than the colour you put down

The Drawing Process

Turn your photo upside down and draw the space around the drawing with the crayon first.  This is just a framework to place the figure on the page and you can easily correct right-side up with the dampened cloth as I have done below.

Otherwise, you may use my drawing below.  I suggest you ask your copy shop to print the PDF below onto a canvas and proceed to make your own unique painting.  Otherwise, you can print the copy onto good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.

 

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The original image is copyrighted and was accessed on 03/02/2017 from   http://www.the-athenaeum.org/art/detail.php?ID=104236  It is used here for educational purposes only.

 

 

Copy Famous Paintings – Franz Marc

franz-marc

What is it?

A painting, Horse in a Landscape”, 1910 by Franz Marc

How  was this painting done?

This painting was completed in oils on canvas.  ‘Horse In Landscape” is an early work where Marc (inspired by Wassily Kandinsky) experiments with colour.   Here we see a red horse with a blue mane and tail looking over a landscape defined by yellow, red, green and blue areas. The horse is standing with its back to the observer, so is seen from viewers’ eyes.

Marc took a Cubist approach in the display and creation of the animals he painted.   He approached the painting simply by focusing on the animal and raw emotion rather than drawing in from external factors like background. Rendering the subject realistically was not Marc’s concern.

Why should we care?

When Marc was 20 years old he began to study at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich and eventually became a key figure in the German Expressionist movement.  Marc created art that increasingly, was stark and abstract in nature.  At age 34 and having been drafted into the army to fight in WWI, Marc enjoyed painting tarpaulins for military camouflage. Sadly, Marc was killed by a shell splinter in 1916.

As a young man whose life was lost needlessly in war, we honour Franz Marc and can only imagine what paintings he may have produced had he lived to old age.  The shadow of lives lost in war hovers over us still and we are indebted to artists like Marc. His paintings, particularly the brushstrokes, subject matter. abstraction and colour have left timeless memories for us to enjoy.

Where can I see other paintings like it?

In “Promenade”, 1913 and Tightrope Walker”, 1914 by August Macke we see a similar blend of Cubism, colour, distortion and form used to express emotions and feelings. 

Robert Delaunay, whose use of colour, design,  Futurist  and Cubist methods was also a major influence on Marc’s work.  This can be seen in The Rainbow”, 1913.  Delaunay makes a clear statement by using colour and form to describe his joy upon seeing a rainbow.  His primary concern is with expressing emotion, feelings and mood.

Meditate, relax and enjoy

Take the luxury of “time out” to recreate this fabulous painting in acrylics yourself. There can be no mistakes in making this painting.  Everything ends up as it should be.  Here’s how:

You will need

  • a small canvas, 30cm x 40cm is a good size (recycled is okay as below)
  • tubes of primary acrylic colours, blue, red and yellow plus white
  • a dark water soluble crayon
  • soft nylon paint brushes, (small, medium and a little larger)
  • water in an old container
  • a rag or disposable cloth
  • two or three hours

Tips on the Process

  • prime the canvas first, otherwise, just a wash and dry with a towel
  • print the photo you want to work from, measure and cut into quarters to make your drawing in a grid
  • turn the original photo upside down to make the drawing
  • use a dark coloured water soluble crayon for your drawing
  • correct drawing right-side up from the original
  • erase crayon easily with a damp cloth
  • it is a big plus if the watercolour crayon mark bleeds into the painting
  • everything is easily painted over or blended in with acrylics
  • paint in the background first
  • The painting will not look great at the initial blocking in stage, stay with it for a pleasant surprise
  • try not to use paint directly from the tube; experiment with how to mix colours
  • acrylics dry darker than the colour you put down

The Drawing Process

Turn your photo upside down and draw the space around the drawing with the crayon first.  This is just a framework to place the figure on the page and you can easily correct right-side up with the dampened cloth as I have done below.

Otherwise, you may use my drawing below.  I suggest you ask your copy shop to print the PDF below onto a canvas and proceed to make your own unique painting.  Otherwise, you can print the copy on to good quality paper, paint the picture and frame it.

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Franz Marc

 

 

 

Drawing: Great Masters – Giorgio Morandi

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This post I will talk about one of my all-time favourites…Italian artist, Giorgio Morandi. He completed many beautiful etchings and paintings.

Most of us would probably run away from working in Morandi’s tedious, time-consuming style, although it is helpful to know about the way he works.To describe his style in a nutshell it could be said…. “control.”

Giorgio’s handwriting is completely in the “controlled style” because he builds up his work by way of what is called “hatching.”

To start off, Giorgio makes a series of short parallel strokes.   For a darker tone he introduces another set of strokes over the top of the first ones, mostly at right angles.  “Hatching” one on top of the other at angles is called “cross-hatching.”  To ensure the tone is under control, Georgio keeps his strokes short, usually about 1” long.

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Morandi adds a still deeper tone by working another series of strokes at another angle and so on until he gets the darkness he wants. In other words, the picture is built up piece by piece.  Giorgio liked fine lines so usually did his work in pen and ink with a fine pencil drawing underneath.  This pencil drawing was erased after the cross hatching had been completed (many hours later!)   Morandi also loved the etching process which married very well with his style.

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This is the work of a methodical and deliberate person and one can’t help but wonder how long one of these drawings must have taken.

The beauty of Morandi’s style is that the hatching cannot be seen from a distance.  If one stands back from the work, no outlines can be seen, just gorgeous soft shades of grey.

His tranquil still life paintings are contemplative, a lesson in colour harmony and composition.

For the record, Morandi mostly used four tones…a light, middle light, middle dark,  a dark and of course the pristine white of the paper (the most important tone of all!)  It has been said Morandi not only investigated the essence of the objects he painted but he also suggested their aura.  When you look closely at his many drawings, etchings and paintings I think you will agree.

You can read more about Morandi in this interesting article.

Since my attitude towards this type of drawing is cavalier at best, perhaps you would like to check out the other end of the “hatching” continuum.

Drawing: Great Masters – Edgar Degas

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Edgar Degas, La Chanson du Chien. Lithograph, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

In these spontaneous, scribbly drawings you will see that the handwriting of Edgar Degas, http://metmuseum.org/toah/hd/dgsp/hd_dgsp.htm   His handwroting is the total opposite of Van Gogh’s.

Degas had an elegant and graceful line and used parallel tonal strokes to create the contour of the figure.  Thick strokes placed close together show the darker tones and the more spaced tones show the lighter ones.  Degas loved to use thick sharp pencils, crayons or pastels. Here the tonal strokes in the bodies are evenly spaced yet the ones in the background are crazy scribbles with directions changing every which way.

If you look closely at the drawings you will see the artist changing directions with a back and forth scribble.

The first drawing looks rather clumsy yet in contrast, the hands and face are indeed done in a “controlled writing” style.  You may also see some restatements on the arm and torso.  These help to lend character and liveliness to the drawing.

Degas loved the light and shows it elegantly here by leaving clear white areas on both figures.

“What I do is the result of reflection and study of the old masters. Of inspiration, spontaneity and temperament I know nothing.”
Edgar Degas

Well, all I can say is that the drawings above look pretty spontaneous to me. There are just enough marks to make a drawing, no more, no less.

Are you willing to practice leaving some clear white areas to show light as Degas has done?  Take this chance and your drawing will really turn a corner.  “Overworking” kills a drawing, and a painting too.  “Overworking” reminds me of hairdressers who keep cutting and cutting until your hair is way too short!

Drawing: Great Masters – Vincent

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Vincent van Gogh http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vincent_van_Gogh had spontaneous passion in his handwriting and it showed in his drawings. The character and rhythm of his marks are riveting.

Vincent used a variety of strokes in his work, usually starting in pencil and going over with a bamboo pen dipped in ink.  He sometimes used a broad flat pen point, switched to other points and also incorporated fine brushstrokes, all in the same drawing! Vincent was a mixed media artist ahead of his time.  Some of the strokes were made in diluted ink as can be seen from the examples below.

“I want to progress so far that people will say of my work, “he feels deeply, he feels tenderly – notwithstanding my so called roughness, perhaps even because of it.” Vincent van Gogh.

Vincent had a delightful clumsiness in his work; he did not care less about conformity.  He sidestepped the academic structure which may have restrained him and made up his own mind about his tools and techniques.  As Vincent mastered his technique, he came to recognize its power and beauty.

EXERCISE

Count as many different types of strokes you can see in one of Vincent’s drawings.  Practice these strokes using a bamboo pen and black ink.  Vincent drew as quick as lightning in short strokes.  After all, bamboo pens run out of ink very quickly.   Now refer to the drawing immediately below and select your favourite tree. Incorporate as many of these different strokes as you can.  Don’t forget the clouds!

PS I can’t resist it!  Here is a gallery of some of Vincent’s amazing drawings.  They are indeed a graphic dance across the paper, musical and fluid.

Vincent

Vincent van Gogh, “Cypresses, Saint Remy 1889” Reed pen and Bistre-coloured ink, with preparatory pencil on paper, The Brooklyn Museum.

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Unfortunately, I cannot reference these, I found them in a book when I was only 16 years old!