Friday, July 03, 2009

Copies~Wyeth and Homer

Everyone's out fishing and dinner's all prepped. So I took the Wyeth and Homer watercolor books I've been looking at, an 11x15 sheet of paper and my paints, and a very large Seabreeze out to the deck.
The top two are copies of untitled Andrew Wyeth watercolors, from 1939 and 1961, respectively.
Wyeth's neutrals are so beautiful: in the bottom one I was quite confounded trying to even nearly approximate them, always getting too warm or too cool.
The top one reminds me of one of my other favorite watercolorists, John Marin, and, in Wyeth's, I was drawn to the strong color and paint application, and to the loose interpretation of the scene. It's a beautiful reminder to me that it's not worthwhile to strive to be so literal!

And these are copies of Winslow Homer watercolors--there are dozens I would like to copy, especially scenes with water and/or palm trees. Here, I was drawn to the top one (which, in Homer's original, Sloop, Horizon [1899] has a boat) because of the stormy sky and the warm neutrals he used in the clouds. I began with a very light burnt sienna wash over the whole sky. I didn't get anywhere near the modulation and interest of Homer's sky, but I enjoyed thinking about his colors, the varieties of blues he uses.
In both of these, I worked in layers--putting in the warm colors and adding the blue when they were dry. Such a useful technique, I wonder I don't think to do it more often!
The bottom is a copy of one of several very fresh dramatic sunset scenes Homer did in Gloucester, Mass., in 1880. I've admired these for as long as I can remember!

Yesterday Peter and I went out to the Wildwood Reef, about twelve miles offshore, to fish for flounder. When we got to the dock it was so windy, we thought perhaps we shouldn't go ... but it was too nice out to go home, and we had the bait, so we decided to give it a try. It was a bumpy ride out, but the wind laid down in the afternoon, and we found ourselves out in the ocean all alone as far as we could see.
I caught one keeper flounder--tonight's appetizer.
I painted the "impression" below in my new Fabriano sketchbook (which so far I'm not so happy with: the paper's light and absorbent) using waterbrushes, which I'm having some difficulty with: one dribbles copious amouns of water, the other stays practically dry no matter how hard I squeeze!

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RHCarpenter said...

I love all of these, Laura! Copying the masters, especially of a subject with which you want to learn, is an excellent way to practice.

Barbara M. said...

Hi Laura,

I love that you do this, work so hard at copying, and teach us what you've learned. I love what you did with the brushes and paper bothering you. Can you imagine walking through an art gallery and getting the real story? "This work drove me crazy," the artist said.

All we see in your case is the happy end result.

Take care,


Bill Evertson said...

You went from floundering in the last post to catch of the day with these. Your layering with warm and cool is very successful.

A Brush with Color said...

I love these, too, Laura! That last one is stunning--the colors are so tropical--are you sure you're not hiding away in the Caribbean somewhere? Fabulous!

I, too, admire that you experiment the way you do. With wonderful results. Happy 4th!

Charlene Brown said...

Laura, you are learning so much from your Wyeth and Homer books -- and so are we! Thanks for sharing.
I haven't tried waterbrushes yet, but am about to -- will try to find one without a mind of its own.

Cliff said...


The sunset copy really captures that painting well... love the Homeresque brush strokes!

Mineke Reinders said...

Despite your dislike of the paper and unruly waterbrushes (which I have yet to try), I think your "impression" is wonderful. It really breathes. The copies of Wyeth and Homer are very nice too, such a great exercise to copy the works we admire.

shicat said...

HI Laura, wonderful job with your studies. Something to think about, literal interpretation of subjects.

HeartFire said...

Those are wonderful studies that you did... It's interesting copying since it puts you in another artists process and frame of thinking, such an excellent way to learn!

Chris said...

Absolutely lovely works! Just goes to show, in some cases, less is more.


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