Learn from the old masters

In the recent couple of years I’ve been painting a lot in watercolour, which is an amazing medium that fascinates(or frustrates) me all the time. I also really like how a watercolour artwork can be used in creating beautiful & practical things, such as textile, scarf, tea towel…
The other day a friend of mine brought me a gift – a small self portrait that I did one or two years ago. I thought that I lost it somehow she found it and brought it back to me. Frankly, it is not a great work. Yes it has the likeness, which is my strength, but other than that I wouldn’t consider it a nice painting. However, it reminds me how I really enjoyed working with oil.
So this morning when I am finally at studio again, I found a primed board, and I opened the Vermeer book I borrowed from the library. Many great artists improved their skills by copying old masters, for example, from the Louvre. I remember seeing this one in Amsterdam and I love it.
I was about to paint alla prima, but then changed my mind. So I did the underpainting in burnt umber first. Now I can see the drawing isn’t accurate – maybe I’ll fix it in the “working-up” stage.

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