From Large Bathers900


A transformation in the studio this morning. Gone are the anaemic pinks and crude green from last week (below) and the hesitant meeting of the central pink and blue. The painting is now about colour, tuning in to Cezanne's exquisite relationship between warm and cool hues. I've enjoyed re-drawing the figues with rust-red line and and the negative-space of the blue that now floods downwards, echoing the lake in the original.  In this interpretation, I've picked up on Cezanne's distinctive slanting brushmarks and repeated triangular motif, also highlighting the beautiful curve where the two groups of figures almost meet. Leaving out the horizontals and vertical trees and figures and making the foreground more triangular seems to emphasise the 'leaning', creating a different, twisting, more ambiguous space.


bathers fri


Working from great art from is commonplace and a valid part of art training. Incredibly, although I have been influenced by many artists, this is the first time I have worked directly from another painting. One of my artistic heroes, Frank Auerbach, draws incessantly from his heroes at the National Gallery - Tintoretto, Turner, Titian, Poussin, Rembrandt. 'Towards the end of a painting I actually draw from pictures more, to remind myself what quality is and what is actually demanded of paintings. Without these touchstones, we'd be floundering...' 

I guess we all have the weight of art history on our backs when we pick up a paintbrush, but it's there to learn from, a guide and a resource, as we search to make our own statement.


The Large Bathers 'The Large Bathers' 1898 -1906 Paul Cezanne


'The Large Bathers'  was my choice for my demonstation painting in the  'INTERPRETATION: Re-working the Masterpiece' workshop, that I hosted recently. I've always loved the version in the National Gallery, but chose this painting because of the powerful triangular composition. In the workshop, all the artists were asked to produce 4 drawings from their chosen masterpiece, with a different emphasis in each, as a way in to painting. Looking back, my painting contains elements of all 4 of my studies.


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