|Apple Blossoms, full sheet of watercolor paper. Watercolor and mixed media by Rachael Shores|
When I went on my first visit to see my friend’s new house in South Carolina, we talked about all her plans for painting and decorating. As we flipped through prints at Pier One Imports, my friend pointed to one of her favorite prints. “I want that!”
“Oh, sure,” I said. “No problem, that’s just Van Gogh’s ‘Cherry Blossoms.’ I’ll just go ahead and paint you something like that.” As I write the blog I’m learning that the actual name of this painting is “Almond blossoms” painted in celebration of the birth of Van Gogh’s son. Very sweet.
I am a big advocate of copying art as a way to study it. It is the best way to learn. Find someone that has mastered what you want to do and then do what they do until you understand their technique. Once you can emulate that you’ve got something to work from and the bonus is that as you copy you feel like you’re doing really well. I traced so many horse pictures when I was little, and followed just about every book of Lee J. Ames “How to draw 50 _______”. That is the greatest drawing book series for kids EVER. Thinking about those books made me digress from this blog just so I could got to Amazon and write a review. One review had the nerve to say that Lee J. Ames’ drawing style is “too advanced”. Pssh. If you want to be good you better copy from the best until you are that good.
My first job was in a fast-paced factory where seconds on the clock were like gold. I loved the challenge but learning the system to run a new part was tricky. Sometimes there were 13 steps to accomplish in under 3 minutes. I watched the fastest guy and learned to copy his exact process. His style was an art and the efficiency in which he moved made him almost twice as fast as others. I remember that lesson in efficiency and the effectiveness of copying. Once I had it memorized and ONLY did things the way he did I was just as fast.
As you can see this painting is not a copy of Van Gogh. I didn’t want to emulate him. I just wanted that same idea. White flowers on a blue background. I painted my painting as best as I could from memory and let the materials create their own thing. I made sure not to look at Van Gogh’s picture once I had decided I would paint it. As you can see my memory wasn’t very good, I guess I just took what was my favorite from the painting.
|Van Gogh “Almond Blossoms”|
This 11×14 print, as well as other prints, is for sale at my Etsy Store, SparrowsHand for $34.