Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Plein Air Magazine Article Jan / Dec 2015

Copying an Edgar Payne

It's not too often that you get a chance to do a copy from an original piece of art. I was very fortunate to be able to begin a copy of an Edgar Payne painting yesterday. I will go back and finish it in the next few days.

It was such a thrill to not only spend a little time with this painting observing it but also being able to block in a crude copy of it. I have done numerous copies over the years of painters I have admired such as Sargent, Sorolla, Wendt, and Fechin to name a few.


There is much to be learned by doing this. Sometimes the lessons present themselves while doing the copy other times it comes later while working through some difficulty in my own piece.

It is a helpful to better understand how the artist actually did his work. I often think back to Sargent's copy of a Velasquez painting where it was done in Sargent's style however Sargent was not trying to go stroke for stroke to match the Velasquez painting, just getting the essence of it.

The Payne painting I am working on has not yet been cleaned so I am remembering back to the Payne Show I saw last year in California, where the colors were more vibrant and not so muted. Also trying to do it in my hand and learn a little something while I am at it.

First session block in 24 x 30

Washed out image of the painting, a little too fragile to be moving about the studio for a better shot.

Next one in line to be copied.

May have to do this little gouache as well.

After doing many copies over the years as stated earlier all of which were done from books or enlarged prints, this is the first copy I was able to do from the original. After having it around the studio for the last couple of days, I have caught myself noticing it out of the corner of my eye, and it really feels as if there is a connection, be it small, to Edgar Payne himself, definitely feels different seeing it was done from the actual painting Payne did versus a book reproduction, very nice feeling actually.

A couple of follow ups.
Went back for another session and then came across this Edgar Payne painting of Fishing Boats, seems to be a very similar composition but switched side, plus it has been cleaned.

Follow up session.

Copy 24 x 30, sketchy but fun to do.

From the Edgar Payne cat from the Pasadena Show.