Saturday, 29 September 2012


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

                                she reclines
                                naked flesh
                                apricot rich
                                against the scarlet

                                heavy-lidded eyes
                                and sly smile
                                her certainty 
                                of male

                                sensuous flesh
                                   strikes a

                                voluptuous hips
                                from a

                                the unseen viewer
                                to enter

                                the frame.

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


  1. Another artist I just went away and googled.

    Love your take on his work and I REALLY love your poem. I have to agree, he was a bit of a looker wasn't he? :D

    I will look out for those books when I am off my ban ;)

  2. I too like Modigigliani as well as matisse, he used such strong shapes and colour. The number of women he seemed to paint perhaps illustrates his raffish character! Have you seen the 2004 movie based on him and Picasso? If so is it worth watching?I will make a note of the books and seek them out. :)

  3. No, I haven't seen that 2004 film, I shall be on to Amazon as soon as I've done this. Thank you for mentioning it. Yes, Matisse is another favourite. Thanks for your comment

  4. thanks for the tip on the books - I've just requested both from inter-library loan. your poem is the perfect accompaniment to the painting.

  5. beautiful post - I agree he is raffish! Would have been right in there on a pirate ship! Clark Gable-ish
    cheers, dana
    ps your daughters work is wonderful - what an eye for color!

  6. Very interesting post Jez - I used to have that book many years ago but we parted company. Your poem is beautiful and really captures the essence of the drawing x

  7. I love Modigliani too - he is definitely one of my favorites. Your "copies" are wonderful and I think the poem that you've written is fantastic!

    You continue to be an inspiration to me... I love the way you are so free and willing to try different mediums and different styles, paint, pens, digital... All amazing!


    p.s. I tried to email you, but your comments are "no-reply-to", but I really wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed all of the names you gave to my nameless faces... They were perfect! :)

  8. oh Jez... the painting is beautiful and your POEM!!! omg... thank you so much for sharing that. I love Modigliani. And what a handsome man in this photo. Va va voom. Your copies of his paintings are just beautiful. Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. I think of you often and hope you're doing well. xox

  9. Hi Jez! You have so many wonderful projects on your blog, drawings - I adored your sparkly bird first -, handmade books, and these wonderful paintings of women.
    I'm glad I took the time to visit you today!



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