Is it worthwhile for art students to copy the "Masters"? - Google+ Hangout

Mark_CarderMark_Carder admin
edited September 2013 in General Discussion
Click here to watch it. Enjoyed hanging out with @Kingston!

@Robert - totally forgot to go through your list of questions :-) Sorry about that, had a lot going on and just plain forgot. X_X


  • I hope so because I'm planning to copy 'Girl with a Pomegranate' in October.
  • Great hangout Mark,Kingston --enjoy listening to all the hangouts.
  • Thanks Guys

    Great hangout.

  • Mark; Great hangout, enjoyed it. Good looking sample portrait. =D>
  • That was great to watch. I really like your paintings and style @Kingston. It's interesting to hear about your ideas. I must take another look at Sargent's work.

    These are some reasons I think people may want to copy Master paintings. Some of these reasons I believe don't require the original.

    Study of compositional elements
    Painting style
    Solving specific problems
    For fun
    As a challenge
    Because you would like it on your wall
    To try and figure out how it's been painted
    Develop artistic sensibility

    Depending on our level of knowledge/skill/development/experiences we see diffierent things in paintings.

    I personally like to copy Rembrandts very early work, as I feel this reveals so much about the start of his journey. I have copied the same painting 3 times and sometimes I see a simple thing like the way he makes a mark, the confidence, the sensitivity, I keep going back and more is revealed each time. I'd love to see this particular picture for real, but I have to make do with a print/online version. Even so it's a wealth of painterly information. having seen many Rembrandts I can also from experience make a good guess what it would be like.

    As Mark suggest, putting your painting beside another can help with critique. Never more so than when you have copied something.Then you can compare like with like, and that is very telling.
    (Well it is I'm my case, when I put my Rembrant next to a real one!) But that process is most invaluable as a signpost for development.

  • I am always in comparison. Imitation is a wonderful form of flattery and at the same time a great training method. Music is taught to students not as original compositions but pieces that become more difficult and different composers as time progresses. As the student grows hopefully they practice many types and forms of music and develop strong fundamentals. This growth period allows for the student to develop there own style or spend their days in a cover band playing other artists music.
    basically..We need to take the things we like from many different sources to develop our own unique style or we will spend are days being obscure covering someone else's music.

    Be original with a strong foundation and never forget and keep practicing the basics and a style will develop.

    Mark you provide a wonderful painting foundation that has introduced me to the world of color and some very nice techniques which I practice daily. I look at the paintings in the museums and on this site in a different way and realize nothing is impossible and owe these beginnings to you..Thank You for your teaching and bringing so many people into a wonderful world of self expression. This forum is void of ego, politics, religion and inhabited by wonderful people who you have helped people realize....I CAN DO THAT....

    last but far from least..I copy a lot of my teachers techniques and his name is Mark.
  • I love the subject of how to keep a painting from looking like a copied photo, even if it is a copied photo, and of course couldn't agree more about copying masters being a great learning tool.
  • I enjoyed watching this. I think copying a master is like anything else. Especially since I'm working from a reference photo. Yes there may be some difference in the color but it should all be relative. I enjoyed the copy I'm doing but I don't think I'll make a habit out of it. To me, it's all practice at my stage of painting. From the drawing to the color mixing to the application of paint.

    I think most of us on this site are beginners or novices. The important thing is just to keep painting and keep learning.
  • Yes. Indeed. I copied Chardin's Vase of Flowers when I first started learning to paint, and I learned so much. I had a poster of it and laminated it so I could check the colors by doing that little swipe that Mark showed us when painting from photos. I copied it stroke for stroke and learned much more about how paint feels and moves than I could have just experimenting myself. It was as if Chardin was saying, "Do it this way." I'll post the painting sometime. I encourage anyone to do this at least once at a point in your learning where you want to expand your approach to brush strokes, colors, compositions. Do something that is truly inspiring to you by a painter you love. His Vase of Flowers is truly remarkable for the "impressionist" style of painting 100 years or more before the Impressionists who were very influenced by this painting.

    Highly recommend it.

  • The modern day educative art establishment in this country says no, and I think the level of realism in oils you teach is a dying art. (which is why I love it)

    It is something that I fought against whilst doing my fine art course. They think a camera can do as good as a realism artist, so why bother! Yet they still teach still life as part of the course, so that seems like a contradiction. :-??
  • One of my first studies in oils was Vermeers girl with a pearl earring, just because I love it, and wanted a copy as near to the original for myself. I had to copy it from a digital image though. Sometimes you sadly don't get the choice.
    Mark_CarderRosanne[Deleted User]
  • Smart advice! Michelangelo said "I am still learning". If it's good enough for him, it's got to be good for us!
    [Deleted User]
  • Cool... I'm there now hangin' with the Devine Sargent

    Man that painting caused a stir in its day. Aint it crazy that it was too racy for its time.

    The last time I was at a gallery I was fortunate enough to have my cannon eos 60d, and I got some close up shots of a Rembrant and a Turner, and at 19mp I can focus down on to every brushstroke, in as near to original colour as possible.

    Technology is giving us the ways to study original masters on a level we have never had before.

    [Deleted User]
  • I firmly believe that the very best in copying is to work next to the original as students in Europe are allowed to do in many museums (and some in America, too, I understand). Sadly, there is such a large variance in color, value and chroma in copies, even "museum" quality copies. One way to see how large is the difference between copies is to google/bing/yahoo a painting -- say the girl with the pearl earring -- and then click the image option. your computer screen will fill with hundreds of images which will range from not-so-bad to awful. Of course, the question becomes, which will you select to copy?
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