View Full Version : Master of the Month #24 - December 2005 (Nicolai Fechin)

11-25-2005, 03:33 PM
Welcome to the 24th installment of the Master of the Month project. This month we will be studying the artist, Nicolai Fechin. We hope you join us in celebrating this artist by painting one (or both) of the paintings selected for this project. This will prove a great exercise in loose yet controled brush work. :wave:

Here is the discussion that Richard started leading up to this thread:
Discussion about Nicolai Fechin for December MOM... (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=309582)

Choice #1... Eya

Choice #2... The Balinese Girl

Nicolai Fechin: 1881-1955
Painter, Sculptor, Builder

Self Portrait

Fechin quote: "An Artist Should Work Every Day With What is At Hand..."

For 74 years, the artist Nicolai Fechin carried in his mind's eye striking visual images of two disparate lands: his birthplace in Kazan, Russia and the American Southwest. Images from each country fueled his artistic gifts, so that a rich bounty of paintings, carvings, sculptures, and designs poured forth from his imagination.

Fechin author, Mary N. Balcomb, says it so well:
Fechin was known as the living old master ... an artist's artist. Others called him the Michaelangelo of our time.His talents in so many diverse disciplines was unique indeed --- a master of painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, woodcarving and ceramics.What his eyes saw and his hands touched, became a creative experience.

His talents in so many diverse disciplines were unique indeed - a master of painting, drawing, sculpture, architecture, woodcarving & ceramics.

Nicolai Fechin died in 1955, but his sensitive and dramatic portraits in charcoal and oils are a legacy which stirs the emotions and inspires visions.


Nicolai Fechin was born in the village of Kazan, Russia, the son of Ivan Alexandrovitch Fechin, an accomplished woodcarver, icon maker and gilder. At the age of thirteen Fechin was ready to begin his life's work. The Art School of Kazan, a branch of the celebrated Imperial Academy of Art of St. Petersburg had just opened and the promising young youth received a six year scholarship. His work appeared in America for the first time at the International Exhibit of the Camegie Institute in Pittsburgh. In both western Europe and America, Fechin was greeted with instant acclaim. Among such distinguished contemporaries as Claude Monet, Pisarro, Gaston Latouche, Sisley and John Sargent, he won his first prizes and medals. He was called a "Moujik in art", the "Tartar painter."

Hardships following the Bolshevik Revolution eventually led Fechin to take his wife Alexandra and daughter Eya to the United States in 1923. The family first settled in New York but not for long. Since a child, he had loved the somber forests and peoples near the Tartar border in his homeland. He found their equal in the high pine forests of the Colorado Plateau, the old adobe villages, and the Pueblo, Apache and Navajo tribes of the American Southwest. He moved his family to Taos, where a small community of artists also made their home. He purchased a house in the middle of seven acres adjoining the Indian reservation. His father's influence took over as Fechin spent the next several years handcrafting every viga, corbel, lintel and swinging door and niche for icons. Today the home itself remains a work of architectural art and is the base for the FECHIN INSTITUTE (http://www.fechin.com/Institute_museum.html) - a non-profit cultural organization formed in 1981 to celebrate the life and creative pursuits of Nicolai Fechin and to host exhibits, concerts and make available information about this artist.

For seven years, before finally settling in Santa Monica, Fechin took great delight in the abundance of subject matter the Taos area provided him. He worked with vibrant hues to paint the native people and traveled south to Mexico to sketch in charcoal, pencil and pastel the many faces of its people. The sketches reveal the superb draftsmanship underlying all his work. Author Frank Waters once wrote of Fechin,s paintings, "How they shout and sing! No man. ..has this intensity of color. Few can equal his masterful draftsmanship. Whatever his subject, Fechin's work is stamped with his immediately recognizable style.

Bio from http://www.fechin.com

Links of Interest:

11-25-2005, 03:50 PM

Oil on canvas, 1933
24 x 26 1/2 inches (60.96 x 67.31 cm)
Public collection


Hi-Res Image from ARC:

Value Study Image...

Close Ups showing brushwork...




Eya is the daughter of Fechin...

In 1927, some very stormy divorce proceedings with his wife caused him to leave Taos. He and his daughter, Eya, went to New York briefly, and in 1936, about six months later, to California on the invitation from Los Angeles art dealer, Earl Stendahl, to have art shows and teach classes. For the next ten years, Fechin and Eya lived near each other in the Hollywood Hills. Fechin was well received, and his spirits picked up with his popularity among his students and the sales of his artwork. Bob Wagner in his magazine "Critic" wrote in the May 12, 1934 issue: "The first Nicolai Fechin canvas I ever saw nearly put me on my back---such color and brilliancy of technique!. . .what I saw convinces me that this Russian is one of the great artists of all time."

From California, Fechin traveled to Mexico, Japan, Java and Bali, which he loved and where he spent considerable time, but the damp climate caused him illness.

In the mid 1940s, Eya married, became a performing modern dancer and dance therapist, and then moved around, living in Colorado, New Mexico, and then in Iowa where she opened a psychodrama department in a state mental hospital. After some years, she divorced, remarried, and moved back to California. Meanwhile, left alone with a big house, Fechin decided at the urging of Eya to buy his Santa Monica studio property. There, according to his daughter, he was content and social "in contrast to his withdrawn silent attitude towards people in the past." (Balcomb xvi)

After the death of Nicolai Fechin, his former wife and daughter lived in the family home in Taos. In 1981, Eya Fechin Branham spearheaded the formation of the Fechin Institute, a non-profit, educational organization headquartered in the house. Following Eya’s death many years later, the house, studio and offices were sold to the Taos Art Museum.

Taken from http://www.taosartmuseum.org/bio.html

11-25-2005, 05:58 PM

The Balinese Girl
Oil on canvas
18 x 15 inches / 45.72 x 38.10 cm
Public collection


No Hi-Res Image as of yet...
If anyone comes across one please let me know...
Here's the best I could find via the net...

Value Study Image...

Bigger Image (Thanks Richard :wave:)...

11-25-2005, 06:53 PM
I found very little information on this month's Master. It was hard enough finding images much less anything on technique. I did come across an article written by David C. Hunt that did discuss style. The following info is from that article...

Most gallery visitors find something to intrigue or delight them in the works of Nicolai Fechin. The brilliance of his painting style and the bold imagery one encounters in his drawings are undeniably arresting. His exuberant use of line and color to define form creates an immediate impression of energy and purpose.

In his representations of people, one sees a remarkable ability to capture the essence of personality in paint or on paper, along with an intensity of feeling that reveals much about the artist's attitudes toward art and life. In pencil and charcoal drawings, oils, and sculpted forms, Fechin's work brings to the viewer distinctly individual likenesses with an evocative flair that places him among the best portraitists of any time or place.

Fechin was acquainted with European Impressionism, with its emphasis on visual experience based on the observation of nature.

The complete article can be found here:

11-25-2005, 10:07 PM

If I had to guess, Fechin painted "directly" which I gather is a fancy way of saying that he just "jumped in" and painted instead of layering. I'm noticing that the ground shows through in places which makes me wonder if he added much in the way of a medium.

My absolute guess is that he works in a manner similar to Thayer. Both Thayer and Fechin were influenced by Sargent. It's about that time frame and both have an Impressionist influence. So anyway, I'm guessing! It's not as if I actually know.

I'm not sure about the colors.

Barb Solomon

11-25-2005, 10:10 PM

You did a very nice job on the biography of Fechin! I know that it is sometimes really hard to find out about some of these artists!

:clap: :clap: :clap:

Barb Solomon :cat:

11-26-2005, 10:21 AM
Thanks Barb! This was a very hard artist to find that much on. I sure love his style. I think you are absolutely right about the "jumping right in" method. I had my mind made up to paint "The Balinese Girl" but after researching him I found myself being drawn to "Eya" since she was such an influence on her dad and the art world. I came across an artist (on the web) who standing before Fechin's painting of her in awe was soon eclipsed by the presence of a neat 90 year old woman standing next to him... you guessed it... it was Eya Fechin... WOW!

11-27-2005, 09:37 AM
great writeup Bern. Yes, Fechin was definitely a direct painter, very spontaneous. I think I have a book around here somewhere on Fechin. Will see if I can find it - but I doubt it will have anything more than what you have already written up here. (Good job !!) I like the value studies included in these too!!


12-01-2005, 08:52 AM
Thanks Barb and Tina...

I want to give a special thanks to Richard (Gallery Orlando) and Cath (Artbabe21) who worked overtime to help me gather info of fechin...
here is so extra info that should prove helpful that they sent me recently...

From Cathleen:
Hey Bernie....I found out a little about his early working methods. In 1904 Fechin was primarily concentrating on portraiture, Fechin's habit of applying color in quick, bold strokes and the all over quality of his athletic brushwork are consistent with Impressionistic practice. Yet, in expressions of Fechin's sitters there remains a degree of attention to detail, often concentrated in the eyes, that lends emotive drama to the portraits. His tendency to experiment with dissolving the negative space within a painting into abstract fields of color represents a purely original departure from both Impressionist theory & his mentor Repin's more controlled approach to spatial construction.

In 1906 with no mentor/teacher, Fechin had a complete freedom of practice which for the first time resulted in his working experimentally & his technique changed radically. He had begun using a palette knife as a tool for creating large fields of color & surface texture prior to 1908. The tendency to emphasize gesture & movement in his figure paintings was present by 1909.

The subtle blending of figures & background are also characteristic of Fechin's more mature style, a synthesis of Impressionist technique intensified by brushwork bordering on abstraction, a strong use of color, his own personal interest in individual character & expression. Hope this helps.....
hugs, Cath~

From Richard:
"Lady in Pink, one of a group of paintings that initially brought Fechin's accomplishments to the attention of American collectors and, indirectly, helped the artist and his family leave Russia for the United States."

Lady in Pink, 1912
Oil on canvas, 45-1/2 x 35 inches
Frye Art Museum, Seattle, WA USA

"Fechin's free and spontaneous painting style was established even before his graduation from the Imperial Academy. Lady in Pink is a good example of the procedures the artist continued to refine throughout his career. The carefully observed facial features seem to emerge from a maelstrom of heavily scumbled paint. The coquettish pose, the vibrant sheen of the dress, and the setting of the painting itself are suggested, rather than defined, by the swirling strokes of brush and palette knife. Fechin counseled his students to work on the entire canvas continuously, rather than completing a section at a time. Lady in Pink exemplifies this approach, as the coruscating facets of color appear to be set in motion by the energetic application of paint."

"After spending six years in the Taos art colony, Russian-born artist Nicolai Fechin left in 1933 to live in California, "The end of the Far West." In California he left behind the bright, saturated palette he had preferred in Taos to express the softer mood of the southern California coast, which he painted in the impressionist Sorrento Valley."

Sorrento Valley
Oil on canvas, 1925
34 1/2" x 40 1/2
Rockwell Museum, Corning, NY USA

Art of The West

Amazon Books

The Philosopher
Drawing by Fetchin
Smithsonian American Art Museum

Miscellaneous Data

Okay . . that's about it until I find him in Russia. Not much to promise on that. Pavel once told me, something about these Russian painters, "Yes, famous, but only in historical records". To say there weren't pictures and other information available on these Russian artists, regardless of their accomplishments.

I'll send an e-mail to a gallery I talked to in Arizona next week, "Gallery of Russia", and see what they have to say.

I'm going to do the preliminary sketch of Eya now . . hope some that helps.


Have fun everybody!

12-01-2005, 10:59 AM
Thx for all the info Bernie. I especially loved the bit regarding his daughter Eya.
Therefore, that's who i'll be painting this month. I first wanted to try a direct and spontaneous approach to this one, but i'm going to be doing a value study first to try to simplify things.
I'm not looking forward to my flesh palette, my skin tones always seem to end up too pink or orange :p
If someone can state their flesh colors for this one that'd be great.


12-01-2005, 01:33 PM
My dear Bernie......this is just fabulous! You did well. I think that's about everything we need to proceed. It's surely a difficult choice as both paintings are so outstanding & equally desirable.

I've had my eye on the one of Eya foever though....so I think I'd like to try his method of working. I'll do the best I can for this busy month! :) Probably will spill over into January 2006....OMG! Can't believe a new year!

12-01-2005, 03:28 PM
Noteworthy :

As the user from Spain pointed out . . the correct spelling of his name is "Feshin", and knowing this is most helpful for Non-English speaking research.

The user from Siberia sent me the Russian spelling "Фешин" and this translates to English from Russian as "Feshin".

"Fechin" does not translate from English to Russian. "Fechin" is an definitely an Irish name, and probably English and/or Scot.

Fechin - Variant of Fehin (also see fiach or feichin)
Meaning : Little raven.
Irish (M)
This was the name of an Irish saint of the 7th century who died of the yellow plague.

Paul Goldschmidt's Dictionary of Period Russian Names - Section E-F
Fesh (m) --
Dims: Feshka (Feshka Iur'gi). 14th Century. [Art II 35; #32]
Feshko (Feshko Kon', peasant). 1539. [Tup 193]
Pats: Feshov (Chiurak Feshov). 1527. [RIB XIV 17]


Long story short . . these search words will provide greater results for Feshin than the commonly used incorrect spelling of Fechin.

Nikolai Ivanovich
Николай Иванович








12-01-2005, 03:36 PM
Therefore, that's who i'll be painting this month. I first wanted to try a direct and spontaneous approach to this one, but i'm going to be doing a value study first to try to simplify things.

I plan on doing "Eya" too... Originally I wanted to do the "Balinese Girl" with those wild colors but after doing the research she became special to me.

I have been dying to try a method used by Moragn Weistling which I feel lends itself well to Fechins look... Loose and detailed at the same time.

Check out the demo on his site (you'll need to click on the "demos" link and then click on "Bunny" demo). He has outlined ten different stages with comentary. Here's the link: Morgan Weistling. (http://www.morganweistling.com/) That's the approach I plan to take. Let me know what you guys think?

I think this month's work will be more enlightening on showcasing various stage work vs the Picasso project of last month which was pretty much upload your finished piece.:evil:

I think this MOM will enable us to share a little more intimacy among each other when it comes to our thoughts, palette choices, etc. It well definitely help me loosen those brush strokes of mine... if that happens... I'll consider this a major success.

What size are you guys working in?...
I'm thinking 11x14 with a slight crop for me.

Gald to see you jumping in Cathleen!:wave:
You to Nickel!:wave:

Where are you Vic? :D


12-01-2005, 03:38 PM
We cross posted... Thanks for everything Richard! I included a link to your discussion thread in post #1.

12-01-2005, 03:46 PM
Gald to see you jumping in Cathleen!:wave:
You to Nickel!:wave:

I clearly must be insane! :eek: The busiest month of the year & I decide I have to do this! LOL....but I have to say that it's what I need to do. I tried a quick oil of my MIL for Jerry's birthday...but sadly it was too realistic & it's not my style...:) I put one of Fechin's paintings next to it & saw ythey way he blends subject & background & it's much more what I am to achieve with my portraits so this is an artistic emergency!!!:wink2:

Hey Tina and Zoe!! Hope you join in Tina!! :) Zoe have fun & a safe trip!!;)

12-01-2005, 03:59 PM
Mike... a simple flesh palette that I use often (and will work with "Eya") is...
Yellow Ochre into a gob of Titanium White...
Burnt Sienna in to a gob of Titanium White...
I add a tad of Cad Red in blood (rosey) areas...
A little more Yellow Ochre in fleshy yet not bloody areas (like forehead)...
and Sap Green and/or Ultramarine Blue is cooler areas.
I also like Aliz Crimson (especially with Sap Green) in shadow areas.

I'm sure others may use something different but you got my 2 cents...:D

12-01-2005, 04:03 PM
We cross posted... Thanks for everything Richard! I included a link to your discussion thread in post #1.

No thanks necessary . . just buy me a coffee sometime (or overlook the subsequent comment).

I can't translate "Eya" into Russian either.

However, wandering the earth to and fro, I did find an interesting (but unnecessary to post) blurb on the name "Eya".

"Sumerian literature identifies the god who warns Noah of the impending flood as Enki, the same deity whose temple was located at Eridu. Enki's Akkadian (East Semitic) name was Ea (pronounced Eya). The Hittites referred to him simply as Ya.
If we translate the mysterious 'I am who I am' of Exodus 3:14 back into Hebrew we discover perhaps the most remarkable of all biblical plays on words. What Moses heard was 'eya(h) asher eya(h)' - the 'h's are silent. This does indeed mean 'I am who I am' but it can also be translated as 'I am the one who is called Eya'. "

12-01-2005, 04:07 PM


Don't have time to do the whole painting, but will attempt the portrait. 11"x14" Panel.

I have made some observations studying his portrait on technique. Let me think of how to put them in words, and I'll post em'. It's useful (which makes up for the previous meandering). Once I learned his approach, the sketch of the portrait became easier.

Have some "to do's" to correct, but that's my humble beginning.

12-01-2005, 04:11 PM
What happened?... we seemed to have lost two of my Posts and one of Mike's and one of Richard's?????

12-01-2005, 04:19 PM
Bern.....I just for a few minutes couldn't access WC....perhaps they didn't get logged in before something went goofy on WC????????????

12-01-2005, 04:25 PM
Now they are back... really confused???... must have to do with the site upgrade going on.

12-01-2005, 04:39 PM
Here's a Fechin that is on the cover of his book, Across Two Continents that is of Eya & her mother. I've long been inspired by this painting. :)


12-01-2005, 04:43 PM
Bernie, great work on Fechin. Thanks Richard, Cath and Barb for the additions.

If I find anything exciting to add after I return (~January 9) I'll send it this way.

Thanks Cath, I know I'll have a terrific time, going with my daughter and seeing loads of good friends!

If I don't see you all (onsite that is :evil: have a wonderful holiday and happy New Year.

12-01-2005, 05:04 PM
Oh that is beautiful Cathleen. I may have to replicate that one using Tami and Olivia in the near future.

Zoe... have a great holiday!

12-01-2005, 06:15 PM
Richard, sorry, I didn't mean to imply that one spelling is correct and the other incorrect, just wanted to say that in Russia some people think it's Feshin.

It's not a question of "translating" names, just of pronouncing them. In post number 14 on the other thread, your contact Pavel put the artist's name, in the Cyrillic alphabet, as "Fechin." That letter that looks a lot like the letter "Y" is the Russian letter for the "ch" sound. You can see it at the end of "Ivanovich" and in the middle of "Fechin" in that post no. 14. The "sh" sound in Russian is represented by the Cyrillic letter that looks like an upside down "m".

My father studied with Fechin and always pronounced his teacher's name Fáy-chin, not Fáy-shin, but that doesn't really prove anything.

To further complicate things, the Cyrillic letter "c" is pronounced like our "s". So when Nicolai wrote "Fechin" I wonder if he thought he was writing "Feshin."

If you're now completely confused, it's because you've been paying too much attention.

12-01-2005, 06:35 PM
My father studied with Fechin and always pronounced his teacher's name Fáy-chin, not Fáy-shin, but that doesn't really prove anything.

Cool LG... any stories passed down to tell us?

Pronunciation can be tricky... example my mom was a Humphrey... pronounced "Ump-Free"... do you think we're kin LG?:D

12-01-2005, 07:23 PM
. . Russian spelling "Фешин" and this translates to English from Russian as "Feshin".

It's spelled Feshin. It's a good thing to know, especially regarding research.


Somebody in America, or where-ever, got it wrong, and as you said, could've been NF himself. So, we correct it all the English-speaking countries . . but not tonight, I'm painting.

12-01-2005, 08:10 PM
I found something that could be helpful...

...Fechin was highly influenced by Repin, who asserted that artists' work should be motivated by the idea of conveying morality and literal truth rather than just aesthetics. A second teacher, Malavin, taught him to use wide, nervous-seeming brush strokes and to use his fingers in the paint to achieve a sense of texture....
...In Europe, he was fascinated by the Impressionists' manner of breaking up color, and he experimented with this style and with painting with a palette knife. He worked with vibrant hues to paint the native people and traveled south to Mexico to sketch in charcoal, pencil and pastel the many faces of its people. The sketches reveal the superb draftsmanship underlying all his work.

I'll be watching this one. I haven't been around for a long while. Hope you all have a great time painting Fechin's beauties!

Hello to everyone!

Wonderful job Bernie! Information IS sparse compared to other masters that have been done this year.


12-01-2005, 08:13 PM
Hey Bernie..... Morgan Weistling's work is amazing. His direct method looks incredibly difficult :eek: I'd definately love to try it one day.

No drawing...no gridding.....no safety net as he calls it. I can also imagine how gratifying a successful painting would be if painted in this fashion. Quite an achievement for sure!
I think I would try this method if I had the live model in front of me....even then I think I'd still be searching for ways to measure distances with the tip of my brushes etc. :cool:
I like how he breaks down "Edges" into 4 basic categories. Hard Firm Soft and Lost edges....I'm gonna be keeping those in mind from now on

Strange how he lets his "assistants" finish off his works with paint by number in the end...I couldn't believe it....He must be REALLY busy lol

My "Eya" is going to be approx. 15" X 12" on masonite panel. I'm starting my graphite study tomorrow. Should be interfesting =P


12-01-2005, 08:28 PM
Wow! Lots of great information! Good work everyone!

Barb Solomon:cat:

12-01-2005, 09:09 PM
w/i/p : oil sketch


12-01-2005, 10:43 PM
I really like the sketch in oils Richard... I'd qualify it more than a sketch... ;)

12-02-2005, 01:34 AM
OK, I better go read Morgan's link...sounds like a leg up...:)

I'm doing a crop that will be 10 x 10...the drawing is in BUT not nearly as detailed as your beautiful "more than sketch" of Eya, Richard!! :)

12-02-2005, 10:25 AM
Hi All,

Being encouraged by MOM #23, I have decided to give #24 my best. I've been studying the Fechin ("Eya") and have consulted a number of instructional books, particularly "Brushwork Essentials" by Mark Christopher Weber. I want to use his demonstration of "Quiet Tones" (boy by lantern light) for direction.

Weber's example, however, was done on panel, not canvas, and I'm tempted to likewise use a panel although the Fechin orginal shows lots of canvas ground. But I'm afraid that canvas might 'drag' too much and I'm thinking that a 12 x 16 gesso'd panel might be better.

But I could be wrong. Any thoughts?


12-02-2005, 10:31 AM
Hi All,

When I first saw the painting's title, "Eya", I just assumed that this was the phonetic spelling of the Spanish word for the pronoun 'she' (ella) or, by extension, 'girl'.


12-02-2005, 10:53 AM
IMNRTST, in each of Morgan Weistling's demos he puts a little joke and I'm sure that the bit about the little numbers and his assistants is one of them. Haven't checked but I remember another one about obliging the little girl who was modeling for him to maintain a difficult pose for hours and hours on end. Another one I'm sure is where he says that his method is the worst one going--when someone is as superb an artist as he is it must be the best.

12-02-2005, 11:04 AM
Rosic, no question about it, consider that you have family here in Spain.

Stories passed down by my father about his classes with Fechin: well, I remember my Dad explaining how this man (N.F.) would stand at his canvas and paint a little bit here and a little bit there and then a little bit over there and then a little bit over here and then--and then it somehow all came together and you had this beautiful painting.

Another thing--Fechin used to walk around his studio with a rag in his hand. Just when you thought you'd done some really good brushstrokes he would appear and wipe them out. Then you knew that your work wasn't up to his standards and you had to try harder.

12-02-2005, 12:59 PM
w/i/p : oil sketch (first coat of paint)


Photo outside in daylight in the shade.

12-02-2005, 01:39 PM
Rosic, no question about it, consider that you have family here in Spain.
Cool... guess we'll be cousins!:D

Stories passed down by my father about his classes with Fechin: well, I remember my Dad explaining how this man (N.F.) would stand at his canvas and paint a little bit here and a little bit there and then a little bit over there and then a little bit over here and then--and then it somehow all came together and you had this beautiful painting.

Another thing--Fechin used to walk around his studio with a rag in his hand. Just when you thought you'd done some really good brushstrokes he would appear and wipe them out. Then you knew that your work wasn't up to his standards and you had to try harder.
Now how is this for first hand info people!:clap: Thanks LG!

Vic... Glad you are officially onboard!:wave:

Mike... I agree with LG... Weistling does seem to have a great sense of humor.

Richard... Off and running... I love your destinctive style!

Barbara... thanks for the added support.

Cathleen... Show us how you plan to crop. So glad to have you back...:wink2:

12-02-2005, 02:21 PM
Artist, Clayton Beck III uses a bold approach similar in some respects to some of Fechins works. He has a great article in the recent (Dec) issue of American Artist magazine.

His instructions on values and edges may prove helpful.

Values and Edges (http://www.claytonjbeckiii.com/Instructional1.html)

12-02-2005, 05:48 PM
Here's a Russian spelling :

Портрет дочери Ии (Portrait of the Daughter Iya)

This translates into to English as "Ii" but the Russian's translate it to "Iya".

Maybe somebody with more knowledge of her name can give us the correct spelling (in Russian, and correct English).

Iya . . in Lakota mythology, is the name of a storm monster.

As a personal preference, I'm going with the Greek until I know the Russian name meaning.

Iya: the Violet Flower (Greek)

Portrait of the Artist's Daughter: Iya

Portrait of the Artist's Daughter: Iya (1917)

12-03-2005, 05:30 AM
Hey Tina and Zoe!! Hope you join in Tina!! :) Zoe have fun & a safe trip!!;)

Hi ((Cath)) - mm, don't know if I will or not. But I will think about it :angel:


12-03-2005, 08:53 AM
Thanks for the extra portraits of Iya Richard. (Those must have been hard to come by... I never saw them in my research that I know of)...

Please join us Tina..... Pretty please..........

12-03-2005, 09:07 AM
You're welcome Bernie . . it's slow going.

Here's the last of the first palette for the oil sketch (first coat of paint). Probably won't have anything to post for a couple of days until after I add some color and edits.



Have to get some work done on my house this weekend, it's on the market, so it's going to take a priority for the moment. Look forward to seeing your progress, and others.

12-03-2005, 05:12 PM
Hi All,

Well, I went and did it. My first attempt ever at a human face.

Actually, this was quite an amazing experience as I noticed slight changes really altered the look and/or the perceived age of the painting. BTW this clearly does not look like "Eya"! Yet I can't figure out why!!

I've never painted on a panel before and I guess I should not have left all those gesso brush marks. Still I can see that masonite was the better choice.

From what I have read in Weber's "Brushstroke Essentials", this sketch is the first step. I'll follow him along and see how it goes.

I attempted the fingers/hands and that was just plain awful. They looked like they belonged to MOM #23. Actually, I'm having a little problem seeing what are fingers and what are flowers (??) in the original. Plus I have no idea what the background is composed of.

Okay, that's as far as I got.



Ava G
12-03-2005, 08:46 PM
hi all,
thanks bernie for the intro information on the artist which i really didn´t know anything about or his work
i agree with barb on the ,,jump right in and paint" method which i think makes copywork quite a challenge as not to correct and overwork
i´m gonna give the balinese girl a try, i really love the colors, see if i can complete it in one session/layer...LOL optimizm can´t kill:D

12-04-2005, 04:01 AM

Great MOM, thanks for all the info and links. Oh and the headache, this is hard! LOL


12-04-2005, 04:41 AM
donna your eya is a lovely study as is. what is the size? she looks so lifelike, i can hardly take my eyes off her.

12-04-2005, 04:48 AM
richard, your eya is a treat to watch unfold, and thanks for the extra info and pictures of paintings done by fechin.

12-04-2005, 07:24 AM
this is hard!

My feelings too -- but you've really captured the likeness, the heart-shaped face, and I want to use the word nuances but I'd have to look up the definition.

I was apprehensive about this study (still am), he fudges stuff, but it's like getting splashed, her expression says, "C'mon in boys, the water's fine."


12-04-2005, 08:24 AM
My first attempt ever at a human face.

"Always good to know when there's going to be blood in the water," said the sharks.


Portraits are tough, but you can learn them. Two of the tools for self-editing at your disposal are: 1) holding your portrait up to a mirror (or conveniently, a mirror in your hand to look over your shoulder at it), which gives you an immediate slap to self-esteem if there's incorrect symmetry. The other, 2) a computer to overlay an image of yours on top of the original, reducing the opacity to see differences . . this is a handy training device, but you'll want to wean yourself from it eventually so that it doesn't become a crutch.

Example : Overlaying your umberpainting


Most of it is there. Minor geometry tweak to top of the head, edit cheeks and ear, but the significant error to neck is what's probably bothering you, and exponentially, that's the error throwing off the one ponytail, and so on.

It helps me with portraits not to define anything too much, and let it morph a bit. The more room I give myself for error, the easier it is to move stuff around if I need to.

And f.y.i., I'm not copying this painting. I'm studying it. And if I really muck it up, then I'm calling it a rendition.

Credit where it's due:
The computer overlay tool I learned from a fellow with hairy arms in London named Dave.

The other thing I learned from someone who spent spent 12 years painting the lips on one of his paintings.

"When you paint look at your work in a mirror; when you see it reversed, it will appear to you like some other painter's work and you will be a better judge of its faults."
-- Leonardo da Vinci


12-04-2005, 10:39 AM
Hey Richard, I love your style! there's so much freedom in your work.

Hey Vic, great start, great underpainting, I look forward to more.

Hey Donna, your charcoal (or graphite) sketch is amazing! you've got the likeness right on the money!

Well....for mine I decided to try things a lil' different yet again. I started with the subject this time instead of the background.....I also skipped my grisaille underpainting and went directly to a thick layer of color. Bernie... I took your advice on your basic flesh palette and it helped...thx......made things a bit more simple.

In my version....Eya was really sick of holding that difficult pose for Fechin and therefore looks really tired and worn out lol....big bags under her eyes....the works!.....she's lookin' really rough around the edges (no pun intended :p )

I've got a new found respect for oil portraiture now.....I second what Donna said!.....this is HArd!

Comments and critiques awlays welcomed!

Approx 12" X 15" on masonite




12-04-2005, 11:10 AM
:wave: Hi MOMers,

All of these looks so good. Even our first timer. Great start Vic.

Thank you for the nice comments. :o

Mine is on a 9x12 Biggie newsprint pad, dumb choice. All freehand, no projector, no tracing, and no grid. I did use a ruler and made all kinds of charcoal marks on my monitor. I really like to use a grid when copying master works.

I can't wait to see more,


12-04-2005, 03:18 PM
Hello everyone - some good starts going on here.
Vlandy - welcome, and glad you broke the barrier - the more you paint/draw faces, the easier faces will come to you!

Mike - like your beginning there. I'm sure it will be splendid.

DLJohnson, that's a lovely drawing too!

I think it's so exciting when everyone begins their studies. :)

I have been staring at the balinese girl 'bout all day. And have found a couple of things that bother me in the painting. I've included some references below:


1. (circled 1) above: I'm sure that's just a bubble of cloth behind her arm. But my eye just can't keep going there for some reason.

2. (circled 2) I'm not quite sure of the unatural curvature - appears that her breast (if she were to have one) would be peaking above the cloth, or hanging out - or is it the adruptness of the curve toward her inner arm at circled 3?
Maybe it would also appear that the dress comes under her arm, and then up and across her other shoulder - but, that still makes me think that the cloth would be higher under her left (our visual right) arm, and that there would still be a little more body mass on the left.

Am I making any sense, LOl?

There is such an immediacy in the strokes there - quickly and thickly laid I'm sure.

Not sure, or it's eye trickery one, on the curvature of the top of the bodice of the dress.

Then again - maybe I'm just being too critical (not that I have the credentials to be critical of Fechin's work at ALL) -

So, it brings me back to the mastery of it all. Maybe not necessarily what we want to "see", but what the artist wants for us to see.

Any thoughts?


12-04-2005, 03:35 PM
Here's a clean one to compare to the above, i've removed the background. See the curve??

She's sure a pretty girl :)



12-04-2005, 03:56 PM
A bit of further analysis on the background ...... which color came first?? LOL

background area behind her head: reveals to me, along with some of the other areas, that he began with a base of dark brown, then came the green and white.



Then, if you look in the next portion, from the top left corner to down in front of her, you can see the yellow and oranges appear over the greens, browns, and whites:


Then, let's look at her dress area. more reddish/oranges come into play. over the other colors:


I think he painted her head first. Then worked in the base coat of the background. The face appears smoother in texture than the rest of the painting. The background, arms, dress and everything else appears to be done in what I would think 100% knife work. And lovely work it is !!

OK - I guess I'm hooked for the challenge.

What do you guys think?

I'm thinking her face blocked in quickly, then further refined, then the background: brown, then greens and whites, then yellows, oranges, reds and blues in that sequence. However, there are some strokes, as in the blue above, where it appears he put some orange over the blue. Maybe some final touches.


12-04-2005, 08:28 PM
Tina, good first impressions. I quite agree that the chest area seems unusal.
Unless she was a young girl/older girl with no real breasts yet. She has a youthful look to me. She's gorgeous! :)
I'd love to tackle that background as it's so foriegn to the way I paint!!

12-04-2005, 09:58 PM
Hi Cath!! I'm glad that you see what I'm talking about. Measuring from her apparent armpit down, the front of the dress in that area is pretty low, even for a girl. The background is intriguing and I think a good challenge. Are you going to do this one too? :clap: I hope so !! I think this one is going to be a lot of fun.

I was going to start this afternoon - sat down with the family to watch a movie, fell asleep (haven't been feeling very well), and just woke up. So much for beginning on it today, but hopefully I can start on it tomorrow or another afternoon this week.


12-04-2005, 10:28 PM
Donna, Mike . . I admire your drawing skills (where's the envy icon?)

Started working on my second coat of paint . . will correct some stuff tomorrow and re-shoot in the daylight.

w/i/p : palette #2


12-05-2005, 12:24 AM

Those are good questions Tina. I didn't notice some of the unusual bits in that piece. When I have copied masters I have painted/draw things that still don't make sense to me. It will be interesting to see how you deal with the funky parts.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/05-Dec-2005/7846-not_worthy.gif Richard, My new favorite of yours! I think she looks perfect, I wonder what you could be seeing. You have captured the likeness without copying the painting. It has your look, excellent!

That has really given me something to think about.


and thanks again for the nice words!

12-05-2005, 09:07 AM
WOW... A busy weekend for FECHINites!:clap:

Ava... Thanks! Glad you are joining us... I think you are the first one doing the Balinese Girl... Bravo!

Donna... welcome aboard... SUPERB sketch!

Vic... First portrait WOW! You'll do just fine! Some helpful advice... Don't look at them as hands... look at them as shapes...:wink2:

Tina... Cool observation and great info to add to this thread! Thanks!

Serra... are you going to paint one? Hope so... if not... we can still use the "cheering on".

Mike and Richard... Your Eya's are looking great!

I managed to prime my canvas (11x14) and fix a charcoal sketch... you'll noticed I'm using a cropped version. Hope to start slapping on paint soon... I'm gonna try Morgan Weistling's demo approach... keep your fingers crossed.

Have to post it later... won't seem to load... off to work...:wave:

12-05-2005, 11:44 AM
My attachments won't load either :confused:

12-05-2005, 01:19 PM
Mike... are you getting some kinda funky writing at the top...?????

Like this:
Warning: move_uploaded_file(): Unable to move '/tmp/phpUVF8oj' to '/opt/web/www/Community/images/05-Dec-2005/17108-1robotbougy.JPG' in /home/httpd/vhosts/wetcanvas.com/httpdocs/Community/Uploader/upload_image_save2.php on line 102
Ack! There was an error copying your file - email us ...

Anyone else having this problem????

12-05-2005, 01:45 PM
Kerri is aware of the problem and taking care of the it...
Here is her message that was in Site Discussions:

Another update just to let you all know today we are working out a diskspace issue which is affecting all uploading of images on the site. I am working on getting an update from my host as to when we will have this resolved. This means image uploading is temporarily unavailable. This affects the reference image library, gallery manager, etc. as well. It's only temporary though. I will update here when it's resolved.

Thanks for your patience everyone!

12-05-2005, 02:11 PM
yea...that's exactly the error message i'm getting too....glad to know it's being taken care of :)


12-05-2005, 03:17 PM
An alternative . .


Upload the photo there, click on it, and it will give you the hyperlink to copy. Paste the copied hyperlink in a message, type " before the pasted hyperlink and "" at end of pasted hyperlink.

I know you know I know you know this already. But for those who don't, it's an alternative to posting images until the image uploader works.

12-05-2005, 09:37 PM
I completed my first layer all around. Next I'll attempt to fix her face and perhaps add another layer to the background....not sure yet

My initial idea was to stay tight and controlled for her face and let loose on the rest of the portrait to see how the two styles would work together.
Results = a kinda muddy lookin' background with an odd lookin' face :D

If I do add more paint to my background i'm thinking even more movement is in order! Some wild strokes here....some impasto strokes there....I may even whip paint at it from across the room and see what happens :p

See yas


12-05-2005, 10:08 PM
I managed to prime my canvas (11x14) and fix a charcoal sketch... you'll noticed I'm using a cropped version. Hope to start slapping on paint soon... I'm gonna try Morgan Weistling's demo approach... keep your fingers crossed.


12-05-2005, 10:32 PM

Inspired by Donna while WC acts funky. Around 6"x6"


Nickel :wave:

12-05-2005, 10:40 PM
Accidently destroyed my painting . .


12-05-2005, 10:46 PM
Accidently destroyed my painting . .

Say it ain't so Joe!:crying:

12-05-2005, 11:08 PM
Welcome onboard Bernie. good luck with your new technique =)

Thx Nickel....and nice start on yours =)

Accidently destroyed my painting . .


Oh sh!t.....what happened? =(


12-06-2005, 12:19 AM
Oh sh!t.....what happened? =(

It melted.


As it died in alchemy, just for a moment I saw something that's difficult to describe. It was intense, like a flash of light, except with paint. Values that are beyond my current ability. It was catching the light. So, no regrets here. I may not be able to duplicate what I saw, but I saw something . . and isn't that what these masterpiece studies are all about anyway?

Enjoyed the research. Will probably look for more of his works now that I know how to spell the name. And with each of his paintings I find online, it amazes me to learn just how influential an artist he was.

Going back to Arizona again at the end of the month, looking at real estate, and will visit Gallery of Russia, ask questions, and post whatever they can tell me about N.F., books, links, etc.

Look forward to seeing your progress, and others.

Do svidana

12-06-2005, 01:30 AM
Oh nooooooooo Richard. :crying: It is good to see that you are taking it well.

Arizona? Did the ghost get you? :wink2:

Great looking Eyas guys!


12-06-2005, 08:22 AM
Did the ghost get you?

It takes two people to create a work of art . . one to paint it, and the other to make the first one stop working on it.

The second person in this case was not around for an afternoon and will now use this forever as an excuse for opinions, finger waggings, and I told you so's.


12-06-2005, 09:25 PM
It takes two people to create a work of art . . one to paint it, and the other to make the first one stop working on it.

The second person in this case was not around for an afternoon and will now use this forever as an excuse for opinions, finger waggings, and I told you so's.


????? mmm OK :confused: That makes no sense at all. Not, of course, "wagging" at finger, and no disrespect intended.

Nickel, great job! Can't wait to see the painted version.

Mike - love your rendition !!! Laughing at the slinging paint across the room for "wild" strokes, LOL

Bernie - thanks. Will have to put this off until I complete something of greater importance - but I will definitely do this one, before the end of the month, as the "piece of greater importance" only has two weeks before total completion is necessary (at least for showing, varnishing not included, LOL)

Will continue watching with upmost respect and interest.


elizabeth ours
12-06-2005, 11:04 PM

Your Fechin is beautiful! You should consider doing Master-Teacher for WC.


12-07-2005, 10:06 AM
thx Tina, look forward to seeing the steps you take to create the balinese girl.

thx Liz, I ran a search for Master-Teacher cause I had no idea what it was. What a great new project!......I'm definately considering joining in....it looks like a great learning opportunity.....and Jodi is doing such a great job right now.

I think i'm going to be working on Eya's face today....and will have an update soon.

How are the other Eya's coming along? Nickel? Orlando (May your Eya R.I.P =( ) Bernie? Donna? Vic? I anticipate all your progress


12-07-2005, 11:08 AM
How are the other Eya's coming along? Nickel? Orlando (May your Eya R.I.P =( ) Bernie? Donna? Vic? I anticipate all your progress

Between work, Christmas shopping and Christmas parties :evil: ... I haven't been able to put the brush to my Eya yet...:D Hope to slap some on within the next couple days.

Mike... yours is coming along nicely.

12-08-2005, 10:53 AM
Thx Bernie =)

Update #2

I added my second layer to the face, hair and hand.....I changed the hue of her skin a little bit as I thought she was too pink...and reinforced my darks here and there.
A bit more paint also went on the background...not really sure where I'm going with that one
All in all...this one is pretty much finished.



12-09-2005, 07:04 AM
Pretty Mike....I don't see any paint thrown at her from across the room :D

Thanks Tina for the comment. I am hoping the sketch will help me in painting Eya.

So far, I have her down on canvas but I just don't know where she is going to end up. I think the background is throwing me a curve....as soon as I get that worked I'll post a wip


Bernie, what did you buy? Paintbrushes????:evil:

12-09-2005, 08:16 AM
Bernie, what did you buy? Paintbrushes????:evil:
:evil: :wink2:

12-09-2005, 01:47 PM
Got to paint for about an hour today...



My Eya seems to be happier than old dad's...:D

Off on a camping trip and Christmas party this weekend... won't have an update till next week.

12-10-2005, 08:09 PM
Hi All,

With encouragement from GalleryOrlando and sheer tenaciousness, I am sharing my lastest rendition of "Eya". I lurked around the portrait forum where there were some great tutorials on eyes and mouths.

My painting still does not look like the prototype although it's getting closer. I decided to focus only on the face and build my painting in layers.

Anyway, here's where I'm at. I made her shirt blue so it would stand out against the gesso'd panel. I'll fix this and her crooked clavicle later.



12-11-2005, 10:33 PM
Vic... so glad you are sticking with this... Eya is looking good!

Got to paint a little more this weekend...:D

Here's my update of Eya! I'm really enjoying this style (following the Weistling demo as close as possible).





12-11-2005, 10:41 PM

Great start on the Eya's. I am comtemplating an oil, maybe monochromatic though. I may give the other a try too. Tina made me want to try those funky parts.

Rosic - those eyes just grab you, really intense. Excellent.

See you soon,

12-12-2005, 12:43 PM
Hi Bernie,

Excellent job and you continue to inspire me, the novice that I am, to try to improve my version of the Fechin. :D :D

Anyway, I spent a lot of time studying faces and trying to understand how we perceive apparent age. My painting is obviously an older teenager or yound adult and, therefore, older than the Fechin "Eya". I have been wondering what it is that we see that tells us (almost instantly) how old a person is.

I think it is the eyes--their position and size relative to the entire face. I'm going to re-work mine (heck, the paint's still wet!) and do a couple of things:
1. make the eyes larger
2. change the curve of the lower lid
3. change the iris to look directly outward
4. change the eye color to light brown
5. lower the eyes and bridge of the nose a little bit--maybe 1/4 inch
6. change the pigment of the entire face--it seems too Northern European for Eya
7. broaden the nose

I'm not happy with the hair but that can wait.

Any further thoughts greatly appreciated.

And, DLJohnson, I've followed some of your postings in the portrait forum and you have my respect!


12-12-2005, 01:40 PM
Good work Bern.....it's coming along nicely...i'm enjoying your Eya demo....


12-12-2005, 02:02 PM
Thanks Mike... although I think mine may turn out a little less somber than Fechins... may keep it like that... ;)

Thanks Donna and Vic!

12-12-2005, 09:56 PM
Another update:

Working this one kinda from the center out.
Also working wet-in-wet with no mediums.

A couple more stages...
Working in the background...
even thinned that neck a bit.:D



More to come...:wave:... soon I hope!

12-13-2005, 08:29 PM


FINISHED... :clap:

Title: Eya after Fechin
Medium: Oils
Size: 14"x11"
Surface: Stretched Canvas

Close Ups...




I really enjoyed working in the style of this one... wet-in-wet, thick, and loose! This was an excellent MOM to help me loosen up my brush strokes and practice scumbling. I want to try this style with one of my family members. Completed this in three sessions with about six hours total painting time.

I think I am finally starting to loosen up...:evil:

Thanks for looking...

12-13-2005, 10:51 PM
Yes, superb.

You really did capure her AND his painterly spirit.

I am going to drawing school for the next couple of months. :cat:
Fun to be a part of discovering this master. Life changing for me, actually.

Thanks guys!

12-14-2005, 10:31 AM
Ok, I want details, please, what where your palette colors???? Did you use any medium?
Thanks Nickel! Give me some time and I'll give you more details than you want or need...:evil: Promise!

Thanks so much Donna! I really enjoyed this one. Just what I needed to help practice loose... thick... and scumbling. Can't fib... also like the fact that it only took approx 6 hours to paint...:evil:



Master of the Month (MOM) List for 2006. (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=312453)

12-14-2005, 11:09 AM
Artist, Clayton Beck III uses a bold approach similar in some respects to some of Fechins works. He has a great article in the recent (Dec) issue of American Artist magazine.

His instructions on values and edges may prove helpful.

Values and Edges (http://www.claytonjbeckiii.com/Instructional1.html)

I thought this was really cool!:cool:

I got the nicest message in my website guest book from Clayton Beck III thanking me for the kind remarks. He's a gentleman as well as a great artist. I forgot to mention earlier that his painting "Katherine" made the cover of the December (current) issue of American Artist magazine.

See it here:
Clayton Beck III (http://www.claytonjbeckiii.com/)

Congrats Clayton!:clap:


12-14-2005, 11:34 PM
Looking forward to the details of your approch Bernie! Thanks also for the link to Clayton Beck III.

After yours and Mikes, well let's just say I am still working Eya :)

But this is where I am at and my palette colors are

Prussian Blue, French Ultramarine Blue, Yellow Ochre, Venetian Red, Burnt Sienna, Ivory Black, Flake White, Raw Umber.

I am going to try and punch up the background some, it is a little dark, but from here on out the color will be brighter. I hope to get the ribbon on her blouse like yours. Really pretty.:) I used a little rougher canvas like you did Bernie, wish I had used a smoother surface or smooth coated the area for her face, blending has been rather difficult but interesting.



Donna do you think I got her hair thick enough?

12-14-2005, 11:37 PM
Ok, I want details, please, what where your palette colors???? Did you use any medium?


OK Nickel... you asked for it...:evil: :wink2:


My cover of Fechin’s “Eya”... from start to finish.

My palette for this painting: Titanium White, Ivory Black, Raw Umber, Burnt Umber, Ultramarine Blue, Sap Green, Alizarin Crimson, Indian Red, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow, Cadmium Orange, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Dioxazine Purple, and Naples Yellow.

First I made a simple vine charcoal sketch on primed canvas and spayed it with fixative to set it. Then I basically started painting from the center (face) out with the exception of doing the hands. I began by blocking in the colors of the face and neck. My skin tone palette consisted of two different mixtures of three tones: 1) Burnt sienna mixed with titanium white...2) Yellow ochre mixed with titanium white. The burnt sienna/white was used more in the redder fleshy areas like the cheeks and the ochre/white was used more on the flat thin areas like the forehead. I made various tones of these two mixtures adding a tad of cad red into the rosy/blood areas and a tad cad yellow on the forehead. My shadows consisted of various mixtures of alizarin crimson, sap green, and a little ultramarine blue. In the warmer shadows I let the alizarin dominate and in the cooler areas I used the sap green and ultramarine. The lips where mostly Indian red with some alizarin. The whites of the eyes consisted of white mixed into one of my flesh color mixtures... the whites of the eyes are never pure white. Working from the center out I blocked some strong under colors to emulate the shapes of the masses then I began to detail the eyes and work out from there... finishing those areas and moving on to the next. Following Fechin’s style... The face (particularly the eyes) is the most detailed/refined area of the entire painting... everything else is carefree and expressive. With that in mind I simply did the hands by observing and painting the shapes of color I saw. The same can be said for the background and Eya’s blouse. The hands consisted mostly of my skin tone mixtures and sap green, burnt sienna, Indian red, cad red, cad yellow, white, yellow ochre and alizarin crimson. Eya’s hair consisted mostly of burnt and raw umber, gray (ivory black/titanium white mix), burnt sienna, ivory black, and Naples yellow. For Eya’s blouse... you can really see the wide array of color used plus the thick bold strokes of paint. If you look at some of my progression pictures you will notice that I wiped excess paint from my brush any where on the canvas... this made some neat under tones when I painted the background in. For the background... mostly gray... I used ivory black, white, yellow ochre, sap green, alizarin, and dioxazine purple. I varied my stroke directions and scumbled (dragging dry paint over areas allowing the color underneath to show through) colors in areas. I really enjoyed this method. I worked totally wet-in-wet with no mediums. I used a big #10 flat bristle brush for most of the background. A #4 flat synthetic sable was used for most of the work along with some small flat hog bristle brushes for texture and a small flat for detail work. I painted the piece (11"x14") in three sessions with approximately six total painting hours involved.

Will probably take forever for this one to dry... :evil:
no Christmas present here.:D

12-14-2005, 11:56 PM
Thanks Bernie, your a sweetie for all the detail.

I'll be up all night reading it and looking at your Eya :wave: :D Nickel

12-15-2005, 12:09 AM
I'll be up all night reading it and looking at your Eya :wave: :D Nickel
Nickel... it may be easier to follow here:
"Eya" after Fechin... Oils WIP / Finished! (http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=312289)

12-15-2005, 12:14 AM
I used a little rougher canvas like you did Bernie, wish I had used a smoother surface or smooth coated the area for her face, blending has been rather difficult but interesting.

Know what you mean! I got around this by applying my paint pretty thick.

Bravo on your Eya!!!!!!!!!!!!:clap:


:confused: Where are all the Balinese Girls? :confused:

12-15-2005, 12:19 PM
nice finish Bern! love the loose vibrant colors all around....keeps my eyes moving.

it's looking good Nickel! I'm staying glued to my chair for your updates....isn't oil portraiture fun? :)


:confused: Where are all the Balinese Girls? :confused:

^^^ I second that! ^^^

12-15-2005, 03:53 PM
Donna do you think I got her hair thick enough?

Oh Nickel you have done a wonderful job on your Eya. I am IMPRESSED big time.

Well done!

Yes I like the hair and your figure is more solid this time. Does that make sense? I like your background just fine but that is not to say adding color would not be a good thing. If you do work on the background, the hair on the right is a tad too wide maybe. I do think her brows could be adjusted a little with color and a little thinner. I really worked her over Nickel and that IS nitpicky. I look forward to seeing the ribbon, I think the colors there are important to the painting.

Easy to crit, very difficult to paint. I could never do nearly as well.


12-15-2005, 08:49 PM
Just rain here on the NC coast Nickel... I forgot... where in NC are you?... sounds cozy!

12-15-2005, 09:20 PM
wow, bernie, your eya looks great! even the hands look right, and they were hard to figure out from the original. thanks for including your palette and method. i've decided to do the balinese girl, and am starting on it tonight.

12-15-2005, 09:39 PM
Hey Mike................... Looks like Serra is going to grace us with the Balinese Girl!:clap:

Serra... can't wait to see it. I really enjoyed this master... even more than my Bougey cover last year. Oh BTW...;) :D


12-16-2005, 09:18 AM
Looking forward to your Balinese Girl Serra. :clap:

Thx for that meal Nickel...I was indeed starving! :D

eeeee we just got 30 cm of snow here in Eastern Ontario...I'm officially snowed in....might as well go paint :D


12-16-2005, 02:10 PM
i love fechin's work, the energy and seemingly casual brushstrokes and the perfect facial expressions. so i've really been looking forward to doing this MOM. i chose 'the balinese girl', such gorgeous color, including her lovely skin.
i used a piece of linen taped to a board, about 11x14", and my usual split primary type palette (cad lem, cad yel med, cerulean and ult blue, napthol red and quin mag, raw and burnt sienna, ivory black and quick dry white) with the addition of chrome ox green. it looked to be about the right green for the foliage so i went with that rather than mixing.
first stage. i used a grid over the photo in my image editor, and made some corresponding marks along the tape to help me measure.

started adding color

just kept going, i was having fun and did not want to stop.


need to smudge the hair down her back to correct the hunchback look. the last photo i adjusted the white bal in the camera to get truer colors. i will likely leave this as is, i am satisfied with the outcome. my 'girl's' face is older,
but acceptable. and wanted to mention, the background brushstrokes around her head are important to set off her face. and i did tone the canvas with the siennas litely b4 i began.

12-16-2005, 02:54 PM
WOW... Serra... Superb and FAST!
Bravo... we now have a Balinese Girl to add to the collection!

12-16-2005, 04:33 PM
thanks, bernie, this was a delight to paint.

12-16-2005, 04:47 PM
Serra so nice to see your steps in painting 'the balinese girl' Wow and so fast too, I think you did a really nice painting. You captured her likeness and your colors are lovely. :)


12-16-2005, 06:43 PM
thanks, nickel, i enjoy the alla prima approach.

12-16-2005, 08:19 PM
Very nice Serra! the fastest mom I've ever seen too...thx for showing us the steps you took to achieve your results.


12-17-2005, 04:56 AM
thanks, mike. i really love fechin's work and that made it fun.

12-17-2005, 11:22 AM
Just a little update been playing in the paint. Also played with the camera. I have 69 pictures of Eya.:D



12-17-2005, 11:35 AM
Cool effect with the impasto strokes! I get the feeling that Eya is sort of behind a looking glass with some blueish light shimmering behind her......and that the reddish orange strokes are painting on "our" side of the window.....dunno if that's the effect you were going for....but that's what i'm seeing.....and absolutely love it! thx for the update Nickel :)


12-17-2005, 11:43 AM
Just a little update been playing in the paint. Also played with the camera. I have 69 pictures of Eya.:D



I'm especially liking those skin tones!:wave:

12-17-2005, 11:49 AM
Sweet Mike!:D Thanks ! That is nice how you see her! Watch out she might wave at you!:)


12-17-2005, 11:55 AM
Hey Bernie thanks, I am trying to finish up the background and then put the finish on her skin to get closer to Fechin. Her face has been a challenge with rough canvas to model. Well it is all a challenge for me, but FUN! Really! :wave: Nickel

12-17-2005, 02:35 PM
Hi All,

In case you're wondering--I'm still here and I've reached the limit of my talent. This is about as close to Eya as I'm going to get. For those who haven't followed my posts, my only on-ground class has been Bob Ross and WetCanvas has been my art class since November. You can put a "mighty mountain" anywhere you like but copying a portrait is a whole 'nother animal.:)

Fechin's work is near photographic. Really wonderful.

I've really learned a lot with the MOM's and it's amazing how the slightest change of shadow, position, eye opening, relative proportions, etc., can change the whole image.

I am very unhappy with the way the hair looks. Any help here (or anywhere) would be greatly appreciated.


I would never have attempted something this difficult without encouragement from you guys.


12-17-2005, 02:49 PM
nickel, 'playing with paint' is what it's all about! i, too, see the warm impasto as coming forward and it is a cool effect.
vic, i like the look of your eya, the hair might need some darker chunks to suggest braids. you've really captured her expression well!

12-17-2005, 03:10 PM
I've really learned a lot with the MOM's and it's amazing how the slightest change of shadow, position, eye opening, relative proportions, etc., can change the whole image.
Vic... aren't you proud of yourself for sticking it out. Whenever one learns something from a painting the time and effort is worthwhile. I am proud of you and your progress!:clap:

I am very unhappy with the way the hair looks. Any help here (or anywhere) would be greatly appreciated.

I'd create a little contrast by using some grays and burnt sienna and black. What I did to create the braids was place the brush on the canvas loaded with paint and make a sweeping "Coma" stoke... then I went right beside it about half way down the stroke and did the same stroke in the opposite direction... being careful not to make it look to perfect.:D


12-18-2005, 07:21 PM
I really like the part in your painting that shows volume to her body around the neck area. You show a good modeling of form.

Hi Nickel,

Thanks for the encouragement. When I am not painting, I do medical research (trauma and burn surgery) and I used to teach anatomy and physiology. Knowing where the bones and muscles go can really help!! :)


12-22-2005, 02:44 PM
nickel, 'playing with paint' is what it's all about!

Serra Happy Birthday!!!!!!:wave:



12-22-2005, 05:12 PM
:clap: Happy Birthday Serra!:clap:

12-23-2005, 02:01 PM
thanks, nickel and bernie! i appreciate being remembered!

12-24-2005, 02:40 PM
Vic....congrats on your MOM! Bravo! It's a huge leap to do these & the results are amazing! We learn so much from them.

Mine is still on the easel...sob.

Happy Birthday Serra!
Merry Christmas everyone!!

12-27-2005, 11:29 AM
hi everyone
I hope you all are having a wonderFULL holiday!
I thought I would try the Fechin Eya. I worked on her yesterday. I can see a lot that needs work, but overall, it's a decent start. :) I don't think I'll finish before the end of December, but I'll keep painting beyond.

Very nice outputs of work here! Have enjoyed looking at them. Rosic, I love your picture of you and your wife in the giant chair. hehe

Happy Belated Birthday Serra! Am looking forward to others postings. Here's my big eyed girl below. Those hands? ..yeah supposed hands :D argh! LOL :cat:


12-27-2005, 11:57 AM

:confused: Where are all the Balinese Girls? :confused:

Starting mine today !! And will hopefully have it finished by the 1st, LOL

Hope everyone had a joyous holiday !!

I've had time off, for a change, and just realizing today the stress levels have left me. Shame, I have to go back to work tomorrow though :( Only for a couple of days :) Then I'm off for four more! So, I'm sure I can get this finished by then !!


12-27-2005, 03:43 PM
Mike and Bernie and Everyone - Your paintings are just lovely of Eya!!

Serra - Love your rendition of the Balinese girl !!

I'm so impressed everytime I come in here to take a peek!! Such a bunch of talented artists!!

Weeeeeeeeeellll - I started the balinese girl. Started off with a rough sketch, and then just blocking in - still a long ways to go. The pics are kind of dark - had to move inside out of the cold - my studio doen't have heat.

So, here's my start:

The rouch sketch (nevermind the drawing line - didn't have a 16 x 20, only 18 x 24's and 20 x 20's and larger, so I'm using a canvas that I had thought I would start something on, - never did till now -)


and a rough blocking in:


Will go ahead and finish the body now, and work some more on the highlights in her face and stuff - then on to the background.


12-27-2005, 05:31 PM
Well, proceeding along. I think I'm the only person having fun today :)

This is very difficult in nature. And of course, you would have to be good ole Nicolai to produce an exact copy. But I'm trying to get as close as I can. I know that my skin tones need much lightening up. I can do that after this layer dries. So, screw up #1. LOL But hey - no prob!

So, here's my further progress:

did the neck and arms, and proceeded with some of the background:


And, this is where I'm at right now - time for some oranges, and time to finish her clothing:


And then - I have a lot of work to do on her skin tones and face! I decided to proceed with the background because the bright colors around her will change the appearance of her skin tones - so I can adjust those after I finish the background. Need to finish her eyes too. (no such thing as white eyeballs, LOL) And I need to narrow her face on her right ((our visual left)) (trying to not lose the youth).

Any comments or suggestions???


12-27-2005, 07:21 PM
OK - well, I've gotten to the final stages. If you'll notice, as I said above, I would refine the skin tones after finishing the background. You can notice from all of the pics how the skin tones lighten as the background is put in. Different colors have different effects on the skin tones in portraiture. They have lightened up a bit - but not enough! So now, I can go back and refine the skin tones as appropriate. Still haven't gotten rid of the "obessed" white eyeballs. I'll work that in as I go now, in refining the highlights in her skin. Also, so easy to create mud when working with a knife if not careful. I have to go back and lighten up some more areas with some of that brilliant yellow and orange. I know that if I keep going - I will create mud, so I need to let that dry. Beautiful colors he used!! I may not have used the same exact colors that he may have had on his pallet but I tried my best to get as close as possible to what I could "see". I did follow my initial analysis, I think on page 3 or 4 of this thread. So, that was my initial process. Let me know what you guys think so far please. Then I will know if there is something else I need to do before I finliaze the painting.

Thanks !! and feeling "very alone" today, LOL. But man have I had a blast with this so far !!

Still don't have those really nice "smears" blending into one another - will have to wait for this to sem-dry or dry before proceeding to complete stuff like that. or else - I'll get some really nice mudd. Dont' want to use mediums - or I could accomplilsh that effect now. Everything here is using no mediums at all.



12-28-2005, 02:12 AM
Hi Tina....was very fun and informative to see how you tackled the Balinese girl...I never even thought of using my palette knife for my Eya...what a great idea!
I think your painting is coming along great! it has many areas of interest...I can't stop looking at it!

Happy holidays to you and everyone :wave:

12-28-2005, 11:13 AM
tina, your 'balinese girl' is wonderful! you did a great job capturing her youth and skin tones. i think a few strokes in the background will complete this one beautifully. nice to see another rendition of this colorful painting.

12-28-2005, 01:09 PM
Here I am again.
Tina, your painting is gorgeous! I'm still plugging away. I had the guidelines for the features, but when painting I kick them out of kilter. Sooo.. below is the next stage I had, and the eya pic with guidelines as best as I could get them in the graphics program. I'll rework the features on my painting...yet again...after I return from the Doctor. Below is the latest. I'm trying to get it right! :rolleyes:

updates later today or tomorrow

12-29-2005, 09:46 AM
Hi Mike - thanks for the comments. I brushed her face and arms, but everything else is done with a knife. I think some may be dry enough for me to continue on - but will probably get to it tomorrow or Saturday or something. Sure used a lot of paint, LOL I guess that usual though when using a knife. It was fun.

Hi Serra - thanks. Yes, the background needs some more dabs of the lighter yellows and oranges. Just don't want mudd, so I'll have to wait for that to dry before I can smear some more of those colors on there.

HI Barbara, thanks for the comments. It was important for me too to get the correct placement on the eyes, nose and mouth first after getting my outline in. Then I worked around all of that. It seems that you have your placement worked in nicely, and your painting is coming along beautifully. I was looking at the original the other day, and I could've swore I counted 6 fingers, LOL - But I like the way that he only suggested the hands (I hate doing hands ;) ) Keep up the hard work and I'll be watching for your updates.

She's still looking at me with those possessed eyeballs. I'm looking forward to completing it. Still need some lighter yellows in her skin tones, in the highlighted areas. I need to paint the edges of the canvas too (gallery wrapped). So, I will be breaking in the new year painting. I have one big project I'm working on, and a smaller one that I need to complete as well along with this one.

Thanks everyone for the support as usual !!!


12-29-2005, 12:43 PM
Thank you for your helpful comments Tina. You know...it does look like an extra finger, but I think the way Eya has 'her' left hand angled, it is part of her wrist. A bit of value in my painting on that particular area will fix that. On her right hand, I believe she has her hand facing to the left of her..of course, *g*, but her left fingers are bending her fingers back toward her right. know what I mean? Her right hand is definitely suggested. As for my ugly stage of her hands it looks like she's playing with green slime. LOL *shrug* I have since wiped that out. It was aggravating for me to look at. :eek: I've made some marks on Eya's face to fix what I totally disfigured on my painting, and I can see how much I went off the path. Nothing that can't be fixed though. THIS painting, I'm going to finish no matter what. One of my easily accomplished New Year resolutions I've made for 2006. I'm glad the time frames have been planned for a bit longer length of time for the 2006 'masters'. I would think a lot more will join in for that reason overall. :)

Thank you for the compliment of my painting. AND...I'm always open for comments to progress.
Whether it's a master or whatever subject, continuous painting will always help the artist to learn something from it.

**values whether in black white, the greys inbetween and learning the values in the colors, placement/ proportions, and especially color mixing...etc etc**

lots of fun/work, and it's all worth it

one day all of these things plus others will fall into place, and I'll hit the target more often....of making a 'silk purse out of a sow's ear' LOL :D

Keep on painting everyone!


*will have an update as soon as I can*

memo for myself: keep the paint thin and don't slap it on without considerable thought until I get the colors and the values right....once I get those right, then the lighter colors can have thicker paint applied

[not easy to paint around in thick goo...and then end up having to use the palette knife to scrape the goo off] a waste of paint, time, and a 'pain(t) in the bootah' :evil:

it's funny how just a change here or there can make it look like a totally different person in painting LOL *standing at my canvas I say to myself, "where for art thou Eya...I know you're there, and I'm determined to find you* :p

aww right....see ya all laters


12-30-2005, 12:17 PM
update of Eya...

12-30-2005, 12:33 PM
Looks great Barbara! nice contrast :clap:


12-30-2005, 02:01 PM
i'm impressed, barbara, your eya is nearly there! not an easy painting by any means...

01-01-2006, 01:48 PM
Thank you Mike and Serra! Much appreciated!

Barbara :wave:

01-01-2006, 02:14 PM
Hi Barbara - She's coming along quite nicely !!! :clap:


01-01-2006, 11:59 PM
Woowee, here's my final. Was SO MUCH fun doing this painting!! I really enjoyed being spontaneous with the colors in the background. Lots of fun that was!! And, not having to fuss over the arms, hands, and fingers and stuff. Learning the "power of suggestion" can be "enough" in a painting. I think the only thing I have left to do is paint the bottom edge of the canvas when the sides and top dry (Gallery wrapped canvas).

Hopefully, this pic isn't too bad, as it's night. If it's too dark - I'll post another pic tomorrow when I can get a good daylight shot. Took advantage of some studio trak spotlights in the house (I need to move those to my studio, don't ya think?), so maybe it's not too dark.

Cathleen, are you still working on this one??? Or has it become OBE (overcome by events?) -- I know it was a very busy month being December and all for most folks.

Thanks all and let me know what ya think of the final. The background was still very much wet. But, I managed to smear a few more strokes on nonetheless. I know she went through some pretty fugly stages in the beginning, LOL.



01-04-2006, 09:00 AM
Barbara... She looks great! I like how you made a bookcase in the background.:clap:

Tina... What can I say but... WOW! Your Balinese Girl is the icing on this already great thread! Thanks for sharing the stages... I always learn so much from them.

Those that have finished... What did you learn from doing this MOM?

I learned to loosen up even more and have fell in love with this style. To be honest... I never gave Fechin a look until preparing for this thread... what a treat to learn from this master and you guys too!:wave: I also learned to see SHAPES and paint those vs trying to paint a hand or a pony-tail... I think this will be the most valuable tool I take into my future paintings. I've always heard artist talking about seeing the subject as and painting shapes but never really applied it until now. I also learned that only a few elements of a painting need to be detailed to work... most times I kill my paintings with to much detail and to much blending. Felt good to put a stroke down and leave it. I will do more paintings in this style to farther practice the lessons I learned.


01-04-2006, 06:11 PM
Hi Bernie and Thanks !! :o

I learned the "power of suggestion" can be "enough" in a painting. I learned to loosen up and have fun with the paint. Paintings like these are always a "freeing" experience, I think.

It was a lot of fun !!


01-05-2006, 10:40 PM
I learned to make sure the canvas is sealed well, this canvas I bought and just picked up and used, the oil has leaked through to the back, so she won't live long, but I enjoyed the experience. I do think Bernie and Tina your both right, the power of sugestion is a powerful one, and a powerful lesson to learn. Take care all! Nickel


01-05-2006, 11:47 PM
Reporting in on my visit to the Fechin Museum:

Richard queried about Eya and its origin. The in-house Fechin expert seems to think that “Eya” is not a diminutive but rather a translation of a Russian sound—musical perhaps. He, Roger by name, did not remember the Russian equivalent, but thought it had two letters, perhaps both vowels.

Eya herself died two years ago. In my previous visit, Eya was living in Fechin’s studio but this visit I found the studio open and attached to the gift shop. The studio itself is spacious, very well lighted, with extremely high ceilings. It is clearly hewn by Fechin’s hand. It was a treat to be able to step into it this time and see some of his outstanding charcoal drawings. He was no slouch when it comes to anatomy. I was particularly taken with his drawings as I had taken great pains in looking at the two MOMs and how the hands on Eya and the proportions on the Balinese Girl were more suggestive than defined. Tina, I looked hard at the way in which the body arched and it is just at a very unusual angle.

Although both the portrait of Eya and the Balinese Girl were on display, the museum is exhibiting the work of the early founders of the Taos School of Art. And Fechin’s work was interspersed between and among these. Works of Sharp, Couse and others were being shown. Several appear here http://www.strongfox.com/NM_Painters_Available.htm . One particular little corner was a display of Sharp’s palette—a small and possibly hand-made wooden box. It was a treasure!

The Eya painting we see on line comes rather close to the original. What I noted was the way in which Fechin’s brush marks differed in the background in comparison to his portrait. This is also true for the Balinese Girl. He appears to use an impasto technique throughout the BG with broad bold strokes and then a somewhat layered effect, with cleaner, more articulated and controlled strokes on the portraits themselves. (Forgive me if I don’t use proper classical language,) The colours are quite bright and it doesn’t seem that much degradation has occurred. I believe the paintings had been in a collection and just loaned (back) to the Museum.

When asking about source material, I learned that Mary N Balcomb’s “Nicolai Fechin” <ISBN I0873583744> is considered the most exhaustive and definitive reference to date (with images, if not biographical text). Again Roger informed us that three new books are in the works and one or all will be more inclusive and he believed published in the near future.

I was just as enchanted with the house this time round as before but found the exhibit a great detraction from the woodworking and Fechin’s great craft. The last time I was at the Fechin it was devoid of a show and stood on it’s own—something the town and the art community is quite proud of. One room in particular had such charm (last time out) that I nearly stayed forever.

I was hoping to see Beth Couse, Eanger Irving Couse's daughter (an acquaintance) this visit to see if she had some first hand information on Fechin but I learned she is away winters and although I loitered at the Foundation, it was clearly closed and after several rattles at the door I went off to see Taos.

We had the most wonderful weather, even when the temperature dropped; at about noon each day the sun was shining and kept us warm and happy visitors. I didn’t get much opportunity to paint or journal as the purpose of this trip was scouting. I only did one small watercolour of juniper branches I plucked from a tree up in the foothills of Santa Fe (where I stayed for most of the trip) but it salved my conscience for taking along a block and pan.

Everyone’s work in the thread is wonderful. Tina, your finish of the girl is terrific and Nickel I love your Eya and those touches of red!

Happy New Year to all!

01-06-2006, 12:19 PM
Nickel... Bravo!

Zoe... Thanks for all your work on this info... so valuable to the thread. I owe Richard a big thank you too! Both of you have made this a five star thread!


01-07-2006, 01:20 AM
Thank you Zoe and Nickel!! Very Very much!!!

Wow Zoe - what an experience you must've had. Sounds so wonderful :clap:

Thank you so much for the comments. I really enjoyed the Bali Girl. Very much. It's difficult to put into words what I "totally" learned from the experience, as the "most part" was quite personal in relation to - and the difference in -the way that I normally work. She's a beautiful addition to my Master Studies on my wall, and I might also add a very colourful addition.

Bernie - don't know about the "icing" on the thread - those are exuberant words :) Don't feel quite worthy of all that - but thank you for the comments very much. Everyone did such a wonderful job on this thread. Absolutely!! :angel: Everyone should be quite proud of their hard work on these difficult studies!!! Im very proud of all of you. Seeing all of your works reiterates the necessity for these activities and reflects the commitment for learning from everyone.... pat all of yourselves on the back.

Thanks tremendously,

01-08-2006, 04:42 PM
zoe, thanks for sharing your fechin visit with us, sounds wonderful.

01-09-2006, 09:30 PM
Thanks everyone! You have made this my favorite MOM to work with!

02-08-2006, 09:16 AM
Just wanted to include this link... some great photos showing the Fechin home, studio, and more...

03-30-2006, 11:21 AM
I have been painting for many years but I feel like a fledgling. The masters' works are overwhelming. Patzya