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It’s your journey. Remember. Dream. Live. And laugh.

once upon a time ... copying old master paintings

Susanne Kasielke

In this series I'm sharing with you illustrations & paintings from my early days of making art. We might figure out together why my style has changed so much over the years & why I mostly paint abstract these days... banner-once-upon

Copying old master paintings

During art school I learned a lot of different painting styles and experimented with various mediums. I am very grateful for it, because you know me, I would have been stuck with my pencil forever... I was very surprised when I realized how many possibilities there are, if you're only willing to try something new. So...I found my new favorite medium: painting in oil!

The image that you'll see might look pretty familiar. It's a detail of Diego Velázquez' "Las Meninas"(1656) - a very important painting in Western art history. I was always fascinated by it and chose to copy it because the girl looks so fragile and her face reminded me of the pencil drawing that I shared with you a couple of weeks ago. Also the colors of the artwork are just phenomenal!

As you can see I couldn't get the girl's face right, I had big problems with the shadows - it all looks grey. I remember how upset I was - I've tried so many times - let the paint dry, add a new layer, take away paint ... over and over again, but I just wouldn't succeed.

But let me tell you a little bit about the technique I've used and why it became my ne favorite medium to paint in oil: The best part when drawing with pencil is to being able to erase it and correct it as often as I might want to. Same goes for this "glaze" technique: LINK I worked in many many different layers. Once a layer is dry you can add a new one or erase the layer (it only requires some turpentine). The most fascinating thing about the "glaze" technique is, that all layers are very opaque so the background or previous layers will always shine through. If you look closely on the girl's dress: First there was a very dark background, then a pink layer for the color of the dress, afterwards grey on top and white highlights.

A funny fact about this painting: at some point I realized that the maid on the left had 6 fingers - apparently I didn't count correctly...