Painting Reproduction Challenge
When I was asked to reproduce a piece of art, I jumped at the opportunity thinking that it would be a fun and quick project! Little did I know exactly what a challenge it would be!! But also an inspiration to give portraiture a second chance.
Several months later with over 50 hours in (80% of which were invested during January), I breathed a sigh of satisfaction and whispered: "it is finished"!
It all started with a text message from my best friend in California who texted with a picture of a a beautiful painted plate of a heart warming image. She told me that her friend's family owns this plate but it broke. Because of sentimental meaning of it, they were looking for an artist to reproduce this image in a more permanent way. I was giddy with excitement that I may be considered to reproduce such a gentle scene that means so much to the owners of the plate.
After all, I have done a painting reproduction back in college in Painting I class. The master copy assignment, as I remember, was not a bad experience! The only difference is that I have not had years and years of consistent freedom with my own paintings where I could make decisions and changes anytime during the creation process. There was an element of a challenge to get what's in your head onto the canvas.
After getting in touch with the family and receiving a print of the original painting, I got to work. First, I attempted to find out more about the artist, Sandra Kuck, and her style and approach with painting. There was little to nothing online, so I was grateful to have a print of the painting called Patience.
So, I started by drawing the image using the grid method, and then creating an underpainting on the 24x30in canvas. The first section I tackled was the background because nature was my comfort zone. But that's exactly where I was surprised!!
I was surprised by how limited I was! I was forced to mix the colors ahead of time because they had to be just like the original painting! I had to paint the greenery in just a certain shapes and specific distance from each other! There was no room for exploration or manipulation. What seemed like a simple background turned into hours and hours of paint manipulation to achieve the exact copy.
Also, unlike my usual practices with my own paintings, I was forced to do large sections with a tiny size 2 round brush. I was surprised that I even had one in one of my brand new brushed that I purchased to have just in case.
The faces, that's when it literally rescued me! If you anything about me track record with portraits, it's not good, not good at all! I was nervous and scared that I would totally mess it up!! After a few mind tricks, I turned on some inspirational music and started mixing the different flesh tones, and blocking in the main features.
After a few hours of making slow progress, I was so excited to finish it that I didn't leave the studio until 3am at which point I was convinced that if I relocate the eyes or the mouth one more time, I'm going to take it to the point of no return. Upon my return to the studio the next day, I was surprised that I actually painted those rosy cheeks and everything actually matched the original painting.
From there I was on the roll, so much on a roll that I could not believe how I could of overlooked a big mistake that could of have been easily avoided and fixed had I not rushed through the different section but spent more in stepping back to compare the original painting and my reproduction. It was only after I was near the end of painting the flowers that I snapped a photo and noticed that the legs were not proportional.
How did I miss that? Was it is still back during the drawing stage, the underpainting, the first layers? Either way, I could not let it be! It would not have been so hard to fix had the paint not dried (even oil dries "overnight" during such dry January days)! I had to start all over with mixing the colors and now adding more solubles to correctly apply the second layer. But when it was all said and done, I stepped back and breathed a sigh of relief and satisfaction! It was now finished... almost!
That's when I still had figure out how I was going to do the signature! In all honesty, I still haven't figured it out, it's still a struggle for me. Plus, this was different since I had to put the artist's name along with mine on it. You can see what I came up with, but since staring at it for a while, I've decided to paint over it and either leave it out completely or repainted it in white on a smaller scale.
This is just a part of my adventure with the painting reproduction. If you want all the juicy details, shoot me a message or give me a call.
On the other hand, next time any one approached me about reproducing anything, I'll take more time to consider it ;) If you're one of those people, don't let that stop you from contacting me with your ideas, I love a challenge!
Thanks for following along, let me know your thoughts!