The very idea of me creating a "masterpiece" is hilarious. I mean, I'm still trying to figure out how to paint! But the fact is that by learning oil-painting techniques and absorbing all of the information and advice from oil-painting artists that I can, with every stroke and every finished painting, I am getting better, so I guess a masterpiece could be in my future.
If you are a little bit farther ahead of the game than I am, you may have started copying works of other master artists. Pursuing your oil-painting instruction directly from the surfaces of the paintings of great artists is a savvy way to strengthen your observational abilities and paint in the footsteps of painters who have inspired generations.
|View of Toledo by El Greco, 1596-1600, oil on canvas.|
Here are a few tips about copying artworks so that as you paint other masterpieces, you get what you want out of the effort and can eventually turn your attention to a masterpiece of your very own:
Choose wisely. Of course, you should choose a painting to copy that you don't mind looking at…a lot. But also choose a work that is in line with the goals you have for yourself as an artist. Honestly assess where you need to improve and choose a master work that demonstrates strength in those areas.
Do many copies. What you want out of this endeavor is a feel for the way the great master painted it. Your work should be as bold as the original. The exercise is not about making an exact replica; it is about harnessing the skills that created the painting in the first place. So do a few copies, and do them with feeling!
|Landscape with Factory Chimney by Wassily Kandinsky, 1910, oil on canvas.|
Remember your palette. A copy can certainly be done with the exact palette the master used, but if you don't have that information at hand, don't give up. You can also create a copy using a limited palette or your own palette.
For additional key insights and approaches to the oil painting techniques you want to master, Oil Painter's Solutions is available. It is an oil-painting landscape workshop, cover to cover. Enjoy!