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Sunday, 7 March 2010

Rembrandt Homage I

After spending so much time on my finicky Cup and Lemon Painting which took lots of phases to complete, all I wanted to do was let rip with an expressive charcoal 'something'; quick and easy and fun. Why I ended up processing a realistic homage to a Rembrandt self-portrait doesn't seem to make sense at first, but I started this work, loose and free, attempting to capture the basic form and likeness and then it just became more and more closely aligned with the original in all its aspects. I was working from an A4 size photograph of the painting on to an A2 piece of cartrdige paper. I wanted 'big' so I could free myself up from the rigours of painting on small formats, but I hit a snag, and I learned a lot from this. I was aware from the start that this up-scaling of the original would be challenging but I didn't know how just how demanding an exercise it would be. I couldn't get it exact, and Rembrandt's nose is wrong, but practice and investigation of rendering accurate proportions and measurements will get me there eventually. What I found hugely interesting was just how dramatic and stark Rembrandt's values are in contrast to one another. His darks are really dark and it took hours of standing back and saying to myself "nope - it needs more cross-hatching there" and then standing back again and finding out that even more shading was necessary. I'm leaving it alone now as there is just too much charcoal on the paper to make any adjustments. Another nice part of this experiment was not having brushes and palettes to clean up. Lordy, I'm getting lazy. Now, off to vacuum the charcoal dust of the carpet.

"Rembrandt Portrait - Variation I"
Charcoal & White Pencil on Cartridge Paper - 16.5" x 23.5"


9 comments:

AutumnLeaves said...

Anne, this is a most fabulous portrait!! I am trying to figure out if Rembrandt reminds me of Mark Twain or Sigmund Freud! I hadn't seen his self-portrait before and am quite shocked to see how he looks as though he is from a much more current time period. I must confess that I'd much rather clean the paint and brushes than deal with the mess of charcoal! LOLOL I am truly awed by your portraiture ability!

Anne Campbell said...

Thanks Sherry. I think more Mark Twain than Freud because of the hair . The portrait is a much loved work in the National Gallery in Washington DC painted in 1659. I've yet to see it but a visit to that gallery is on my agenda. I think the contemporary feel might be there because it is in black and white and therefore akin to photography. Not sure, but it's a thought.

Chartan said...

Wonderful Anne. Wouldn't this be fitting for the Following The Masters Blog?

Anne Campbell said...

Thanks Charlotte - yes, it would fit that perfectly. I'd like to try to copy one of his paintings though - very ambitious I know - but I love his work.

Chartan said...

can hardly wait to see what you do :D

Anne Campbell said...

Hi Charlotte - thanks. I intend to do a few more charcoal numbers of his works and then hopefully over the Easter Weekend, I can get down to a homage of one of my favourite Rembrandt works. The joy is it's just down the road in our National Gallery. London is a great down for that sort of treat!

Chartan said...

Oh you lucky woman! do you get to paint from the real thing then?

Anne Campbell said...

Charlotte - unfortunately no. I think that privilege is reserved for very famous artists. However, I could buy a slide and project it and copy from that, but what I have done is bought a poster of it. I shall trace it laboriously but go in and stare at the work and take notes. I'm talking about Rembrandt's "Woman Bathing". It's a mega-masterpiece if there is such a thing. I'm going to do it to scale as well. Deep breath now Anne......!!!!!

Chartan said...

Well then I shan't be quite as envious. I was under the impression that people were allowed into the museums to paint from the real thing. Perhaps that was a long time ago.... things change for the worse imo. I am trying to work up the courage to do a Rafael thing. good luck to us <3