View Full Version : Is copying masterworks useful learning tool?

01-21-2014, 02:07 AM
Hi Everybody,
I've been doing pastels for about three months and love it. Just sprang for a complete set of Great American and have other pastel pencils and Rembrandts. I've really enjoyed improving my drawing and color skills copying masterworks by Rembrandt, Velasquez, Chardin, and Degas. Is anybody else doing this? If I can figure out how to post a photo, here's a Velasquez copy I'm working on. Thanks for looking and any suggestions for improvement are welcome. I'm going to post my "degas" when I've tweaked it some more.
OK - I haven't a clue how to upload photos! I tried all the instructions - reduced the photo size, etc. no luck. Any tricks I'm missing here?

01-21-2014, 09:32 AM
Twoolz, I think lots of people copy paintings from artists they admire and hope to learn from. Certainly many beginners do it, and after 30 years as an artist, I still do it on occasion. I recommend it - but there is one possible drawback. At least for me personally, not one of my own "original" paintings is as good as the copies I do. So, there can be some frustration as I am left wondering, what am I missing! I hope this is not the case with you!

Here's a link to the uploading instructions. Since you mention that you have already tried them, not sure if they will do much good! One possible thing they may be preventing you from uploading might be if you have a firewall or security settings that need to be adjusted. If you have more than one browser on your computer, you might try that. For example, Internet Explorer may have settings that may be preventing uploads, but Firefox or another browser may work. Just guessing on my part.



01-21-2014, 01:41 PM
It happens, and for the very reason you say: to learn from the old masters.

When I did this for a Christmas card --


-- the truly indepth study that copying is made me appreciate how the limbs swirled around Madonna and Child. A neat trick Raphael made was to use the red-brown stripe in her garments to get a line between her face and her red sleeve, thus continuing the line and connecting the two.

And I found that he'd made a "mistake", having the highlights in their eyes come from different directions... :D Well, there was probably a reason for it.

Copying is a time honoured way to learn. Personally, I can't think of a better thing than learning from the true masters rather than from trial and (mostly) error.

01-30-2014, 02:07 AM
Hi Everybody,
Here's one more try at uploading an image.
Ok, still not working. I give up - this is SO frustrating!

01-30-2014, 09:38 AM
Twoolz, it might be an issue that you haven't made enough posts without images yet. I seem to recall back when I first joined that I needed to comment on things before I could make an image post. You have eight posts, maybe the magic number is ten?

That's about the only thing I can think of.

On copying old masters - great idea. It helps a lot. I love Leonardo da Vinci and have some sketches of his in a sketchbook that I mean to copy with hard pastels sometime.

01-31-2014, 01:00 AM
I really appreciate everybody's comments and attempts to help me upload an image. I'll keep trying! I have done a bunch of copies in the last month or two - a beautiful Chardin pastel I saw in Chicago, 3 Rembrandts, a Velasquez, a Van Dyck and 2 Degas. I feel as though I'm learning a lot by doing this and when I figure out how to get an image onto a post I'd love your feedback. Charlie, the Raphael copy is lovely!