I arrived at the National Gallery of Art to begin this artistic endeavor. I got my Copyist's Permit and locker where I will be keeping my supplies and store my canvas. My canvas was measured to make sure it is the required 2 inches larger or smaller than the piece I am copying and then the back of the canvas was stamped indicating approval.
Then I entered the gallery I would be painting in and set up. It was daunting...but was very exciting.
First I showed my permit to the guard in the gallery so he could log me in. Then I set up my palette and adjusted the easel, positioned it and began to sketch in the figure. The painting I am copying is titled "Plum Brandy" by Edouard Manet. The sketch went pretty well...I found everyone to be very pleasant, friendly and helpful.
After the initial sketch I began mixing the colors. This I found particularly challenging. The palette of colors used by Manet in 1878 is quite different from the tubes of paint I use today. That coupled with the way the paint may have changed due to environmental issues make it difficult to achieve the same colors...at least for me. I managed to get colors I was reasonably happy with and blocked in most of the colors. The aspect ratio of my canvas was not exactly right so I drew lines on each side to narrow it. Aspect ratio is a term my husband used when I asked him to figure out what size canvas I should order. I couldn't find anything perfect, so decided to use a 16 x 20 panel and adjust the sides as I needed. I will cut the panel later if I choose to frame this piece.
This is a view of my easel and setup with the painting "Plum Brandy" by Eduard Manet in the background.
My first day went very well. I was pleased with my progress. People perusing the gallery were more than generous with their kind comments and asked quite a few questions about my work and the Copyist Program. I feel I am learning so very much in so many areas of my artistic journey. I am studying all aspects of painting...the history, techniques, palettes, as well as dealing with people from small children to adults discussing artwork, galleries and anything else you can imagine. I am looking forward to my next visit.