30 December 2009

More Zorn Master Studies

Two more Zorn master studies today, started during a class at Watts. Both paintings are 10 x 8 on stretched canvas. Painted with cad red light, cad yellow deep, ivory black and titanium white, plus a bit of alizarin crimson on the shadow side of the red fabric in the second image. Zorn painted the portrait of his wife Emma (top) in 1887, at the start of his transition from watercolor to oil. (He was self-taught in oil, by the way.) The second image, painted 15 years later in 1902, displays his mature style. This image also illustrates the type of complex lighting arrangement he often employed.

As a starting point, I focused on edge control and brushstroke quality during these studies. Wherever you look in these paintings you see Zorn's preference for the soft edge, achieved by working wet-into-wet. By contrast, most beginners favor hard edges, which tend to flatten the form. The lesson I learned here is to keep edges soft, adding the hards sparingly, and only as needed for the composition. Zorn also favored long, flowing brushstrokes, especially in his later work, which gave his images a sense of volume, form, and energy that I really like. The look is loose and spontaneous, but I'm sure each stroke was carefully planned and placed. Hard for a novice to reproduce, but very good practice.

My reference source for these studies was a book on Zorn, printed in China without English subtitles, purchased from Nucleus in LA. If you're a Zorn fan, I recommend this book for it's beautiful, large reproductions and extensive catalog of paintings, etchings, and watercolors.



Copies of copies from the Chinese Zorn book, for comparison. Click to enlarge.

14 comments:

  1. Wow, fascinating to study the painting with such a limited palette. Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

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  2. Thanks, Elizabeth. Like most things in art, the viewer fills in the gaps and sees the image as more colorful. It's a good starter palette, too. Best to you in 2010.

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  3. Candace, your studies are marvelous and what a command of color and strokes. The one with woman reading is perfect and, like the master, you captured the hand and the ring so well. With the wife's portrait what I notice on the original is the element to the left that draws you away from the face. The face on the original is mysterious - not sure what she is thinking or feeling - complex sort of like a good Merlot. Meryl Streep-ish ala late 1970s. That extra element makes the virwer dance in and out of the gaze.

    What you stated about the complex lighting is spot on and you got that - I love this post.

    May I try to sample these studies in a quilt? Thanks for your visit and most kind words. My best for 2010...regards.

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  4. The study of the woman reading is absolutely lovely and convincing! You have conveyed that moment of rapt concentration that a person has when totally absorbed in the act of reading.

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  5. hi Candace, one of the reasons i attended the nyaa was the cast collection, best in nyc. i used to draw from the casts on my lunch break, a lot of fun. best in twenty-ten. hb

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  6. Hi Candace, thanks for your kind comment on my blog. These studies are incredible - great work.

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  7. Cohen Labelle, I wish I could take some small amount of credit for the beautiful image, however, all goes to Zorn. I will take credit for having the good taste to copy his work, though. Thanks for visiting.

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  8. your art is a treat to the eyes.The charcoal drawings of your daughter are very good, too. Glad to meet you:)

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  9. You are really getting a great command on what you are doing, Candace. What great teaching you are receiving. I'm sure you would recomend that type of study for any one serious in learning art for a living. I certainly preach the atilier teaching for anyone who asks about what school Johnnie could go to to learn how to do art.

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  10. Wow!! You are really hitting your stride. You should be proud of the accomplishments and skills you've worked for this past year.

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  11. Arti, Thanks for visiting and for your kind comment. C

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  12. Sheila, Your compliment was a nice surprise at a good time. Thanks for taking the time to spread some cheer. Warm regards.

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  13. What amazing progress! When I need a nudge or just to be inspired by someone who works hard at this, I drop in here. Again, I truly envy the education you're getting.

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  14. It's very nice your comment about my painting. I was very proud. Thank you. I've been visiting your blog for a long time ago. Your drawings and paintings are very good. It's amazing how you make the light. If you want become a follower too. I invite you. Sorry my English.

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