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Getting back to whimsical

February 19, 2015

I think this is the last painting (scroll down to end of post for image)I will be copying for awhile. It is by a contemporary artist, and it feels a bit trickier than copying someone who is long gone and would never know you were using his/her work for study.

I’m only going to show the original this time, realising that the point isn’t whether my copy is good or bad. It turned out quite well actually. It was the painting process which was important. And copying a whimsical subject helped me to reconnect with that side of my own work.

First, here are a few small selections of work done over the years in oil pastel, oil pastel collage and oils. They all have an element of play and humor which somehow went underground when I began to do still lifes in oils.
(If you look back through this blog at my oil paintings from the past few years, you’ll see that they are mostly realistic.) That was what I wanted to do, I needed to learn the medium better, and paint rather than draw. I’m still learning this.

Moon village oil pastel

Moon village
oil pastel                            (all by S.Zoutewelle except last image)

Encounter   oil pastel

Encounter oil pastel

And finally, the work below is ‘In Shining Armour’ by Susan Bower. What made me want to copy it was her casual handling of the greenish background areas, and the wonderful perspective going back to those pastel houses and terracotta rooves.  I love the sketchiness of her painting and the looseness of the forms.

Susan Bower, 'In shining armour'

Susan Bower, ‘In shining armour’

So my next painting will probably be inspired by this last period of concentrating on other people’s approaches, but will be more my own choice of subject.
By the way, I read that Van Gogh copied madly during his development, and destroyed those attempts during his life- there were more than 400 drawings and paintings that were copies of other artist’s work!

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6 Responses to “Getting back to whimsical”


  1. gorgeous use of colour in your earlier ones. very interesting to see the development of your work over the period. yes, I read about Van Gogh copying and he even copied his own work! I think that it made sense – once he had figured out the problems in the first version, then he was free to enjoy working on the second and third versions

  2. decorartuk Says:

    Love this post!

    Why? 1. It’s always nice to see someone’s paintings/drawings in one place – I guess we could say it’s a mini exhibition. 2. All these colours… like a sweets’ shop for an artist! 3. I like how you manage to create semi abstract paintings – there’s so much I still have to learn (I sometimes feel I have no imagination).

    I’ve never tried copying someone else’s work, but I do get loads of ideas by looking at various paintings. I must admit that Susan Bower’s ‘In shining armour’ has lots of “stuff” worth trying to copy.
    K.


    • Thank you, K! I love your comment about the colours being like a sweets shop for an artist, it is exactly how I feel when opening my box of oil pastels, and was how I felt when discovering ways to use them to their full strength. Sometimes I feel I don’t have an imagination as well -when it goes underground and I can’t access it at will. But usually it is just a matter of creating fertile ground for it and it appears like magic. But if I knew the right spell to use to summon it up, I’d tell you, I promise!

      The Susan Bower copy I did is stronger than the original in colour, and I know if I lined up my paintings with that one in among them, people would just go straight to it. So what is that quality that is not coming through in my present work? Perhaps I haven’t been doing oils long enough to really own them like I do oil pastels. A friend of mine said it took him about 6 years to get to that stage with oils, so for me, just one and half more years to go!


  3. Such fun you have with your creativity! Kudos, Sarah!


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