Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Copying a Master: Edgar Payne Part 2

It turns out that this blog post is my 100th!  I'm not sure how that happened so quickly.

The Edgar Payne exhibit blew my socks off!  I found the Eucalypti painting and was stunned to see that none of the values (lights and darks) in the painting were as dark as those in the photo from which I was working.  The darkest foreground trees were no darker than the tree on the left that you see below.  I took six pages of notes such as: "the trees are entirely blue green with only a small amount of yellow greens where the light hits,"  "dark warm brown underpainting for the trees and ground, even under the lightest values,"  "paint is as thick in the sky and background as it is in the foreground," "the grass green is the awful yellowy pea green that is popular in women's clothing right now."  Anything that would give me total recall of what I'd seen!

When I got back to my studio, I began lightening all the values in my painting starting in the background and continued correcting shapes as I went.   As I moved forward, I decided that I really liked having the contrast and depth of the range of light values in the back to the dark values in front and decided to stick with the more contrasty version that I had created...

Another very helpful tip came from an artist friend smarter than I, she suggested that I would be able to see the brushwork in the original more clearly if I blew up sections of the photo, like this:

Such an obvious solution, but it hadn't occurred to me!  I decided that I was happy with the brushwork I'd already done in the sky, but continued from there paying close attention to Edgar's techniques.  At this point, I was unable to continue painting for over a month, but when I resumed, I began making real progress.

Please forgive any difference in lighting and color in my photographs.  I shot the photos on different days with different weather outside the window and at different times of day, so there is naturally some discrepancy. This last progress shot is a little anemic, despite my editing attempts.

The painting is nearly completed, but still needs some tweaking here and there, and some additional work in the foreground.  Stay tuned.


  1. Congratulations on your 100th post! I really love this project and analysis, Julie. You are doing a great job!

  2. Great blog and a wonderful study! I am interested to know what size/type of brushes you used.