My all-time favourite artist is Amadeo Modigliani. I often say that I like Picasso's work or Magritte's, but in fact I like some of their paintings and drawings but am not keen many others.
But I can look at my Modigliani books time and time again and love pretty well everything that is shown.
So when it comes to having a session of trying to copy an artist's work, I often turn to Amadeo, as with my attempt at the 'Reclining Nude' below.
I don't worry too much about whether I am copying it exactly, I could scan the original from a book if I wanted that. The main thing about copying is that it makes me look and learn - about colour and design and about the way a particular artist paints.
Modigliani's use of colour and his distortion of the subject fascinate me. The acrylic painting above has come out rather pink from the scan rather the the pinky yellow of the original as printed in the books.
Non-deliberate mistake: I forgot to add her belly button. But as they say, only God is perfect, so she will stay that way.
This particular painting of Modigliani's inspired me to write a poem reflecting my feelings about the work:
Reclining female nude - 1917
against the scarlet
and sly smile
the unseen viewer
As far as copying works of art are concerned, I like the comment by David Hockney in his foreword to Jeffery Camp's book 'DRAW':
"Copying is a first-rate way to learn to look because it is looking through somebody else's eyes, at the way that person saw something and ordered it around on the paper. In copying, you are copying the way people made their marks, the way they felt ...."
If I could take only two books to a desert island, then Jeffery Camp's 'Draw' and his similar book 'Paint' would be what I would choose without hesitation. I never tire of looking through the thousands of small sketches or paintings and reading his comments. See if you can get one or both from your library - the publisher is Dorling Kindersley. Well worth a look.
The painting below is another attempt at understanding and copying Modigliani's work.
Yet another non-deliberate mistake - I'm always making them. When I finished painting the figure in acrylic I decided to paint in the black background with a Pitt Artist's Brush Pen. Big mistake. It didn't give an even coverage. Amadeo aside, I quite like the effect of movement behind the calm figure.
And here he is, the great man himself.
I think he's rather gorgeous. To use an old-fashioned word, he looks 'raffish'. I think he would have been a great success in the movies.
Poem Copyright of Jez Eden