Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Copy other artists to learn how to paint the tricky bits....

8x10 oil on panel

Doing copies is invaluable, but frustrating because I don't want to use my 'good' panels or canvases because these studies are destined for the garbage.  So I use gessoed cardboard, and scraps of chipboard and masonite panels I've picked up here and there.   Funky - but it works.

Above, I did a copy of a portion of a landscape by Mark Boedges, a fine landscape painter who has better control of value than any contemporary artist aside from Jeremy Lipking.  I've spent a substantial amount of time looking at his work trying to figure out the basics: warm or cool, color mixes, etc, and gone over his supply list to get any clues because we all think a particular brush or brand of paint will make a huge difference in our work.  They don't.  The only thing that leads to improvement is practice and studying other, better artists.

I'm not posting the original I painted from because of copyright issues. But if you're curious you can go here to see his work: Mark Boedges

The photo below is a study of another piece by the same artist, to practice mixing realistic greens.  His mixes are more subdued than I thought from first impression.  Gray paint pre-mixed, and a good understanding of using complementary colors to mute colors are necessities.

8 x 12.75 oil on masonite panel

Landscape and portraiture are both difficult subject matter.  I have little interest in painting people, but I'm incredibly fascinated by landscape work.  Water isn't as difficult to paint as I thought, but trees and foliage are a bearcat.  


  1. I wish I had your talent...reading your process for learning makes it clear how hard you work at making painting look easy.

  2. Neat to see these pieces. You understand how he uses the light and his how edgework changes to move the eye around the canvas. Copying a master painter, yes -it certainly is one if the the best ways to learn and I congratulate you on your integrity of sharing your inspiration.
    I agree with you about his ability. I recommended Boedges work to an artist friend who was stuck and needed some fresh inspiration. she too copies and learned and it lifted her out of her slump. If you have the same response of owning a romantic eye ` and my friend does...then no one could be better.
    In the Musee d'Orsay(Paris) I enjoyed seeing quite a few of the impressionists work on cardboard - still intact. Susan Hertel, a fav artist of mine, painted her canvases in cardboard brown and left a lot of it showing because she had enjoyed using cardboard when a student.
    Have a safe and good 2021.