There is an age old methodology for learning, increasing technical skill and finding creative inspiration that has proven by its use that it can effectively stand the test of time and consistently achieve great results. That methodology is studying the masters. In this article, we will look at how you can use the process of studying the masters as a way to find creative inspiration.
Masters studies have been informing and teaching artists not only for centuries, but for at least a millennium. If you were to sit down and write out an exhaustive list of all of your favourite artists from any time period, you can be certain that at some point in their lives, they have studied a master and learned something from that study that has informed their own work.
The idea behind this article is one that has been rattling around in my planned posts pool for quite some time. Every single time I grab the pencils, inks or paints, I simultaneously select a podcast to listen to while I work and get settled into the process.
Podcast statistics show that in 2020 there were over 850,000 active podcasts and over 30 million individual episodes, that statistic tells us that there is a lot of choice. In fact, in preparation for this post I ended up going down a vast network of rabbit holes and diving into some powerful podcast statistics.
Now you might be looking for a great podcast to listen to while you’re at work or being creative and have different tastes to mine, I have prepared this piece to appeal to a few different subjects; after all chances are that if you have ended up on my website, we have some shared interests. I’ve diligently filtered the over 850,000 active podcasts down to four of my favourite go to listens.
I have been a Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember, the OT was finished up almost a decade before I was born and I was born into a Star Wars household.
My favourite creatures from the Star Wars universe are without a doubt, Jawas. Ironically, I didn’t realise this until the release of the Mandalorian and seeing the Jawas again but in a different context, the nostalgia value hit high.
This in turn inspired me to want to turn out some Jawa themed artworks, this post here shows the first which is a bit of a character study style piece; made with the intention to inform a small series of future Jawa paintings that will have a different look to them to this one.
So let’s begin the inspiration with a #MasterpieceMonday post – This particular artwork in its preparations and various copies of the original will be of special note for this month’s #StudyingTheMasters – also of note, this particular piece is a master study of a Leonardo da Vinci artwork by Rubens.
Peter Paul Rubens – The Battle of Anghiari Copy – 1603
‘The Battle of Anghiari’ by Peter Paul Rubens, is a copy of a fresco that was painted around 1503-06 by Leonardo da Vinci and although the fresco itself was never completed, it was also destroyed around 1560; some 43 years before Rubens made his copy.
Leonardo da Vinci had made a number of preparatory studies for the original painting that still exist and the central section of the composition is known through this copy by Rubens. Rubens’ copy was based on an engraving by Lorenzo Zacchia in 1553 based on the cartoon of Leonardo da Vinci.
Rubens was successful in portraying the intense fury, emotions and sense of power that was present in the original painting by Leonardo. There have also been similarities noted between this piece and The Hippopotamus and Crocodile Hunt painted by Ruben around 1616.
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Every now and then I am suddenly and unexpectedly hit with surges of nostalgia, and having art and illustration as my choice medium of outlet, this usually always results in artwork. Sometimes just a doodle of scribble, sometimes a painting; and occasionally a series.
This is the case with this miniseries, I also will be adding a few more pieces to this set as well using different media; as I have been accepted into the upcoming Zelda Creator Con by Linktober!
Anyway, before I keep rambling on like the Great Deku Tree, let’s see some art…
Art depicting Geisha and Maiko is something that has drawn me in from the bustling county of Essex on the outskirts of London in the UK to explore the historical traditions of South-east Asia, Kyoto in Japan in particular. This oil painting is testament to that exploration and shows a rear-view portrait of a Maiko with emphasis on the hair and make-up.
The street of Gion have quietened down, but the tea houses are thriving…
Continuing the Geisha theme that I’ve been working on over the past couple of months I now have a couple of oil painting portraits to share.
Katsuru – Geisha Girl Portrait – Oil on Canvas
Mameka – Geisha Girl Portrait – Oil on Canvas
These portraits were great fun to work on and I learned such a lot in the process. I worked on these with my usual method of approach; starting with a preliminary charcoal drawing, then transferring an outline to canvas before working on the underpainting.
As I write this post, it’s now quite late into Star Wars day for me here in the UK, however, it’s been a great one, probably my best yet and it will continue much into the weekend for me; lockdown is a great excuse for binging!
Let’s begin this post with a new artwork I’ve completed –
Jawas on Tatooine – Charcoal
I recently undertook and completed this charcoal drawing to serve as a preliminary for a new oil painting, a May the Fourth special which also served as the subject for a live stream (more on that in a bit).
I’ve always had an odd obsession with Jawas and I’ll be doing some more Jawa based artworks in the future so this is just the beginning. In later piece I intend to put more emphasis on the landscape narrative whereas this piece is more of a character portrait.
While not strictly a Geisha, this piece was worked on and created as a figure study with an emphasis on capturing the female form through oil paint. The Haiku was one that I thought of while in the process of working on the artwork.
This original painting is currently available on my Etsy shop