Being my first painting for around 18 months, attempting this mother and daughter double portrait was a bit ambitious. The wonderful reference photo was very silhouetted which is what made it interesting. I tried to keep the feel of that strong light dark contrast.
The new mum and dad were happy with it and that is want counts.
The copy is the same size as the original. Most viewers of Sargent's watercolors, who see them in books or on the web, tend to assume that they are smaller that they actually are. Sargent's watecolors are on the whole very loose. If they do not look loose then what you are probably viewing is a half sheet or larger reduced to fit the area on the page.
Zuleika is only a (slightly trimmed) quarter sheet so the looseness of his original is clear.
As for my copy? - well OK on color and OK (mostly) on brush strokes. You can still see that Zukeika is in the shade of a tree and large patch of sunlight falls along side of her. The major weakness poor drawing of her body. I think I adjusted her head to be smaller and forgot to adjust the body to match - [sigh].
If you are interested in the story behind the name 'Zuleika' see the this article (read below the image) -
If you look closely at the original you will see that Zuleika has two right hands! One is propping up her head and the other is reaching across under her head and into the sunlight about to turn the page of the book.
John Singer Sargent did a large number of watercolors of women often in flowing dresses. I searched the web for something similar and more modern in style and found the reference that inspired this. Sargent was much smarter than me and saved painting shiny dress material for his oil paints. :)
Many thanks to the model and photographer for putting their inspiration on the web.
This was a two hour challenge painting and to be honest is has started to 'get away from me'. I wanted it a lot looser than it became. While it is not quite finished I don't think adding any more of a 'finish' would improve it.
I was even late getting the painting to this stage, hence the title.
Charles Reid warns us not to try to copy Sargent but instead to use him as inspiration. I guess, I am not one who always takes sound advice, so from time to time I try a Sargent copy.
Sargents Original (10 x 13 in)
If you are ever foolhardy enough to try one let me make two suggestions.
(a) Paint the same size as he does. You haven't a hope of comming close if you try to paint smaller. Most of his loose watercolors are arround the half imperal sheet size sometimes a bit larger as he liked to use blocks. This painting "In Switzerland" is one of the few quarter sheets.
(b) Beware the colours of the reference you are using. I took as my source. Carl Little's book - "The watercolors of John Singer Sargent". In that book the colors are shown roughly as I have coppied them but in on line Sargent gallery has a much more pumped-up version. (Which I have used as the original above or you can see the large version via the link below)
Painted from a photo I took a year or so ago. I have stood infront of this cluster of boats many times and have never done a good job.
Charles Reid has a DVD out in which he paints them very well (of course). This inspired me to have another go. Way better than before. The Manon is the boat in the back. I think this must be the most painted group of boats in the UK. Lots of painting classes come to see them. There is a free public loo behind (with water of course) and a nice pub to the right for lunch. The pub is called the Butt and Oyster, also much painted by the likes of Wesson.
If you want to see Charles Reid's painting then this clip has him in action. Manon is in the last 20 seconds or so.
Click Image to see larger version in my gallery10 x 14 in - 25 x 36 cm Watercolor
Done for a two hour challenge out on the net. While a bit overworked I did get the feel of light I was after.
I have decided to stop adding the reference photo in these blog entries. Partly because blogger does not make it easy to handle multiple photos but mainly because of the additional work required including getting permission to display the photo. Better to spend the time painting.
5.5 x 5.5 in - 14 x 14 cm Watercolor Going to a wedding on Saturday. Instead of having a guest book or such to sign, we have been sent square pieces of card on which to write our goodwill messages, paint or whatever. This is my offering.
It was painted from life. This is a shot I took of the arrangement so you could see roughly what I could see.