Traditionally, when learning to paint, students copy the masters’ work. By doing so, aspiring artists learn everything from how to mix color to painting fine detail. I’ve realized lately that my work would benefit from taking after history and doing a bit of copying myself. Because much of my work is abstract, it can be easy to let my training lag - it’s been awhile since I’ve painted a figure! Copying pushes me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, discovering new techniques and mediums in the process. While it can feel like breaking some unspoken “artist code” by copying work I admire, copying is one of the oldest tenets of painting.
I’ve been working on a piece for a few weeks now and have already found new colors and techniques to bring into my work, and I'm remembering things learned long ago in painting class. I'm looking forward to seeing how it affects my next painting!
Who wouldn’t want to paint like Degas?
And how cool is this, "Art Students and Copyists in the Louvre Gallery, Paris" from 1868?!