Thursday, May 9, 2013

National Gallery of Art Copyist Program - Plum Brandy

I have applied for and been accepted into the copyist program at the National Gallery of Art on the National Mall in Washington DC.  The copyist program allows artists to reproduce some of the Master artists’ work in a controlled and monitored environment.  It is a great way to grow as an artist.  My goal is to copy some of my favorites, John Singer Sargent, Mary Cassatt, Degas, Manet, Monet...the list goes on.  

I chose a day to work...Thursday...and then I chose a piece of artwork to work from.  If available I can begin.  My plan is to begin on May 9th, to paint a piece called “Plum Brandy” by Edouard Manet, assuming it is available.  That may change.

From the website here is the official explanation...

“The National Gallery of Art copyist program has been in operation since the Gallery opened in 1941. A permit issued by the registrar's office is required for copying works of art in oil or any other liquid medium. The Gallery provides permit holders with an easel, stool, and drop cloth; private easels are not allowed. Visitors may sketch with pencils or other dry media in the galleries without a permit.
To participate in the copyist program, applicants must meet all requirements outlined in the National Gallery of Art "Rules Governing the Copying of Works of Art" and agree to an interview and a security background check; they must acknowledge in writing their acceptance of the rules. 
The issue of a copyist permit does not in any way constitute the National Gallery of Art's endorsement of a copyist's work.”
I will post my progress...

This is my first sketch of "Plum Brandy."  One of the things I really like about this piece is the feeling it gives me.  It is portraying loneliness.  It is a young woman in a cafe.  I don't know why she was there, but the painting makes me feel her solitude.   I love artwork that resonates a feeling.  

I love painting figures and love portraying emotion so this is a perfect start for my National Gallery of Art endeavor.  

Plumb Brandy
Edouard Manet

Here is the original.  After I sketched the piece a couple of times I worked with colors and just worked to match the color of the dress and background.  I noticed how similar the colors of the the dress, skin tones, and table top are.  I have been working on mixing the colors and getting ready for my first visit as a copyist to the National Gallery of Art.  


  1. What a fantastic opportunity, Maria!! I can't wait to see all that you do. I appreciate that you are going to share your experiences in this endeavor.

  2. Congratulations. I wanted to do the same at the ORSAY but it was very complicated and wasn't worth the effort for just a few visits. I think these are wonderful programs because there is nothing like working with the real thing.

  3. Sounds wonderful, Maria!! Congratulations and I look forward to your future works....!!!

  4. Maria, congratulations to you. You have picked a very moving painting to do. Manet always seems to capture the mood of the moment. I look forward to seeing your progress. The colors are all so close and luscious.

  5. What a great learning opportunity Maria. I can't wait to see your progress on your paintings.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.


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