Figurative Paintings Mastercopies

Painting at the Metropolitan Museum – Week 3

Painting at the Met has been such a unique experience. Some of the most memorable moment thus far has been possible by the visitors that have come to talk with me. One of the best conversation was with a visitor who stopped to tell me that she began painting, too. I was so happy to hear the excitement in her voice—we definitely need more painters using oil in this digital era. 

My goal for continuing to copy the Denial of Saint Peter this week was to cover the entire canvas with paint. I have also made some decision to cover light areas with blighter colors than the original painting for now. I haven’t decided whether to match the color exactly, or to adjust it to make it look as it might have looked 400 hundred years ago—I have been researching on painting restoration on the side. 

One of the major challenge when copying this painting—in my humble opinion—is not so much to paint what most of see, but what we can only see up close. While the photographs of the work doesn’t reveal this, there are a wide-range of colors and shapes that make up the darker areas of this painting. It’s quiet beautiful to see all the shades of colors, for example, on women’s face. I have decided that I will begin tackle that in the week 4, but began working on sample from a live three week pose. Below is the color study where I am studying skin colors under shadow.

Color study – Oil on Cavas, 12” x 9” inches

And, the following post from my Instagram shows the bigger version of my latest project. This is still work in progress..:

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Figurative Paintings Mastercopies

Copying Caravaggio – Week 2

After a long debate about how to approach copying Caravaggio’s painting at the Met, I decided to paint the way that makes the most sense to me. There are online videos and documentation on how Caravaggio might have painted, but they don’t seem all that reliable. During the week, I practiced painting techniques that I would use to execute the copy by painting live models. Here is a sample:

Oil on Canvas, 12″ x 9″ inches

This was a special week for painting at the Met because I had my friends and family visiting me. Luckily, my visitors all arrived after I got around to paint for two hours. My main goal for this week’s session was to complete the entire drawing by blocking in some major areas and to introduce color to set the base layer.

Je’s copy of Caravaggio – Work in progress

Because I am not looking at the painting from an angle, measuring exact proportion has been an issue. I think that’s okay, though—I don’t have to copy the painting exactly. I ended at a pretty good stop point at the end of the session.

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Information Mastercopies

The Met Copyist Program – Week 1

I began copying The Denial of Saint Peter by Caravaggio at The Metropolitan Museum of Art earlier this week. The Met Copyist Program reopened once again after being closed for two and a half years due to the pandemic—I am honored to be one of the ten participating artists. I have copied many paintings there in the past, but this will be my first time copying a painting with oil paints.

I will be posting my update, so please come back to check out my progress.

So why choose Caravaggio? There are many answers to that question, and perhaps I do not fully understand it now, either, but it made good sense for me to choose the painting because all the other choices didn’t make sense to me at the moment. As I read about Caravaggio and get to know his works, I feel as though I have made the right choice. I may tell you all other reasons later, but let me tell you one reason now—I have been learning and copying some works by Velasquez and that led me to Caravaggio. 

Step 1 – Setup camp

Setup the easel pretty far back from the original so the visitors can view the painting.

Step 2 – Decide on a composition

After some thinking, I toned the canvas using red umber and began drawing exclusively using raw umber.

Position each figure into appropriate placement on the Canvas. Peter looks weird here!

Step 3 – Keep drawing before time is up

Working rather quickly, I drew the woman, the soldier, and then Peter. I intentionally drew the woman bit smaller.

The image shows the painting in progress, just before I worked on Peter
Oil Sketch after the first painting session at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My first painting day at the Metropolitan Museum was a lot of fun, and I got around to speak with really nice visitors from all of the world.

Sending special thanks to the copyist program for this exceptional opportunity to learn from the masters. THANK YOU!

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