Friday, February 6, 2009

Learn from the ones you love:

On occasion something by one of the painters of the past will appeal to me so much that I draw their paintings - not really a copy, more like drawing a still-life that happens to be an image already. Here are a few selections from that stack:

First Caravaggio ~ This is "Saul's Conversion on the Road to Damascus:

~ and here's his "Deposition of Christ": When I finally stood in front of this painting in the Vatican, I was amazed to find that unlike the other painters of his time, the surface was not glossy, but matt, like a kid glove. Photographs do not reveal that.

I'm crazy about Peter Breughel, the Elder ~ this is his 'Peasant Wedding". Drawing it was like doing a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. I faltered when I got to the face of the bride, and had to use whiteout!

Here's Titian's "Diana Surprised at Her Bath". Titian is a painter's painter - nothing is better than his color. I think about Titian a lot - if I had to choose one painter to admire, he would be the one.

Michelangelo's "Aged Faun", given my obsession with faunishness, was a must draw. This is the same blue tablet paper that the "Crows" were done on.

The last image is the only remainder from a strange project; "Famous Naked Ladies of History". I did versions of paintings that I thought were of the best naked ladies ~ Titian's "Venus of Urbino"; Botticelli's "Birth of Venus", Goya's "Maja Unclothed" (the FIRST image of a naked lady I ever saw!) one of Renoir's "Bathers", and Manet's "Olympia". My versions were made by cutting out stencils of the ladies and their accessories, rolling on pigment with a brayer, then adding finishing details with a brush. (!)
Somewhere in the studio I THINK there's still a collage of the positive images cut out of the stencils - I'll look for it. As it turned out, the best lady in the batch was not naked. She is the maid delivering flowers in Manet's Olympia. I took the liberty of replacing the lapdog in the original with a black cat.

Well I found it - here are the stencil cutouts for the famous naked ladies, late of an old-fashioned Kroger bag - so I guess you could say they're bag ladies. After I finished using the stencils I couldn't resist pasting these into a collage of their own.

And while I was looking I found this take on Vermeer's "The Letter" - one of my all time favorite paintings. The ravishing "Girl in a Red Hat" - is THE favorite Vermeer, and I did do a version of that one too, but I don't know what happened to it!


Cathy said...

These are stunning. I love the aged faun.

I'm astonished at your Brueghel. The drawing has more life and movement than the original painting!

Aw, the black kitty looks like Thomas.

Dan Dutton said...

Thanks! I think the finger-licking kid with the peacock plume is pretty good.

There were more Caravaggios. I may still post the "Nativity", because there's a nice donkey in it that Pino would approve of.

All the black cats drawn before Thomas look like him! He was just the best. There's a new black cat hanging around outside - at first, seeing it at a distance, and hoping beyond hope
I thought it MIGHT be Thomas. But it's a larger cat & I think it has longer fur. Maybe it will tame down some if I can get Alf to stop chasing it up trees.

Mary Beth said...

As a teacher in the public school system which meters every moment, demanding that x number of minutes be devoted to each subject appearing on the state and federal tests, I lament that lost of time once devoted to art in music in the early grades.

Looking at the work in your latest posts, one begins to understand "the education of the artist." Thank you for pointing to art history. I'm feeling less guilty about "stealing" time for discussing things like warm and cool colors, why the work of certain illustrators are our class favorites, why foggy days make me think of the cathedral Monet painted at sunset.

Dan Dutton said...

Mary Beth it's good to know that you're taking time to show your students the value of learning how to see, not just through their own eyes, but also those who have devoted their entire lives to articulating what they have seen. Bravo to you!

(Must tell you about recent lucid dream!)