Sunday, March 13, 2011

Work in Progress - Thayer Old Master Copy Step 1

P.S. (Though I put it first) I have 2 new workshops.  End of May, 3-day flower intensive.  Mid December, Carol Marine for a 5-day.  Early registration discount - http://workshops.7weststudio.com

I searched the interwebs high and low for someone else's WIP of a Thayer copy, and couldn't find one.  So here's mine.


11 x 14 oil on linen
Lisa Gloria after Abbott Handerson Thayer, "Angel" 1911

Of course, I have only digital images to go off, and they vary WILDLY in color and cropping.  The one I chose to use is this one: http://www.flickr.com/photos/maulleigh/4161751482/sizes/m/  Most versions of the painting blow out the lights so much there appears to be no modeling at all, but you can see it on Maulleigh's version, so I picked it.

My goal is to paint it the way he painted it, or at least try.  Without getting it stroke for stroke like you can with a drawing, I will say that I will give it my best shot, but can't really do it exactly the same way (especially since Thayer spent several years on his paintings.  That's not going to happen.).

If you click on the original size image and scroll around, it looks to be painted opaquely with some glazed accents added at the end.  But if you scroll down to the bottom left corner, where the blue background fades out, I think we're seeing a bistre under there.  Certainly his other paintings show thin bistre-type washins.  So, that's my guess, and I began with a brown underpainting, accomplished by mixing burnt sienna and ultramarine blue.  Even if that wasn't his method, it will certainly make my life easier to do it that way.

Step 2 coming this week.  :-)

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4 comments:

  1. I've always loved this painting. Really nice choice to do a copy of. What made you choose it, apart from it being gorgeous?

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  2. So I can absorb his powers. There can be only one!

    Heh heh. My work mirrors his in many ways, especially the juxtaposition of naturalism with self-conscious design. In order to cement that relationship more firmly in my mind, I thought stepping into his shoes was a good plan. (Not too far into his shoes though - the poor guy had some rough going.)

    BTW, when I was looking for old master copies on the web, you are the first link that pops up. Nicely done!

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  3. A couple other concerns: The original painting is the same aspect ratio as a linen panel I happen to have at the ready, and it looks nice at 11 x 14 inches. The other angels, while also lovely, would have seemed puny at this size.

    Thayer manages to put together a persona which defies sentimentalism. That is no mean feat when you dress up a girl in a toga and slap wings on her. Somehow the weight of his personal sorrow imbues this lass with both strength and delicateness simultaneously.

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  4. >juxtaposition of naturalism with self-conscious design
    Of course. That makes a lot of sense.

    >the first link that pops up
    Oh, that was you? Honeslty, it's pure luck that one.

    >The original painting is the same aspect ratio as a linen panel I happen to have at the ready
    That's such a rubbish reason!

    >Somehow the weight of his personal sorrow imbues this lass with both strength and delicateness simultaneously.
    Ah. that's a really, really good reason.

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