Color Studies

Studies. Studies. Studies. Study the great ol' masters you know! Don't question it. Just do it! Almost every artist says you should do them just because. I have questioned it. I've ignored the call or even saw the value of doing them. One of the reasons being there are numerous students that do them. Sometimes it appears to me that they don't comprehend the essence and soul of the painting. Sure you can deconstruct and draft the image stroke to stroke but if one cannot capture the soul or the emotion of the piece its meaningless. A soulless impression of what is rendered.  I've seen too many abused studies and revere these "saints." that I dare not desecrate these beloved images with my paintbrush.  

But Alas! Never mind. I've been dupped into doing a dozen color studies. It was mandatory. Last semester I took a course in the History of American Illustration. I could not escape this one or make any objections.  I was vehemently opposed to doing this. The doubts raced in my mind. "What if I butcher and misread the mood and intention of the piece?" Can I even nail it? Can it be done properly? I think my skill level is low." Well it happened. I did do it! And the results were better than expected.

These studies was quickly blocked and sketched in graphite and then scanned and rendered in photoshop. The rendering process was generally 45 mins-1hr for each study. Some of them I don't recall how long it took.

"The Renegade Monk"
N.C Wyeth

N.C Wyeth
"Blue Fairy Book"
Frank Godwin

Illustration for Harper's Magazine"
Elizabeth Shippen Green

"Magazine Illustration"
Saul Tepper

I've been converted. Strange. I am now a strong advocate and firm believer in the studies! Do your studies yo! (Feel and understand the piece or else its frivolous! You know?!) With this new found appreciation I utilize these colors these emotions. Colors evoke a spirit of strong emotions that can craft and capture the audience in such beautiful ways.

"French Cafe'"
Saul Tepper
"Coca Cola Advertisement"
Haddon Sundblom
"The Battle"
N.C. Wyeth

"Tom Sat Upon the Buoy"
Jessie Wilcox Smith

"Refrigerator Ad"
Saul Tepper
"The Queen in Hamlet"
Edwin Austin Abbey

One illustration I strongly felt was "The Mermaid" This was painted by Howard Pyle . Surprisingly this is an uncompleted piece because this was the last painting by the father of American Illustration. My heartstrings were strained as I recreated the mood and color of the two lovers who were destined to be apart although they belonged together. Oh the violets, blues, strong contrasting oranges. Sadly there are too many terrible reproductions of the illustration its heartbreaking. Thankfully I have seen and snagged a good reproduction. ;]

"The Mermaid"
Howard Pyle 

So dear fellow students and artists that walk the same path as I. Do not go about this being hasty and sloppy. It is not just about the craftsmanship. The most important factor is resurrecting and recreating the soul that lives inside the piece. Analyze, internalize, be sensitive and paint with earnest conviction. That said go and paint and enjoy these great works of art. :]
With Regards.


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