Friday, July 26, 2013

National Gallery of Art - Copying "Girl Arranging her Hair" by Mary Cassatt

This is the painting I am copying at the National Gallery of Art.  It is "Girl Arranging her Hair" by Mary Cassatt.  The NGA has some interesting information about Mary Cassatt, Edward Degas and their professional relationship at this link.  

I began at home sketching the piece...a rough sketch...just to see where everything is on the canvas.  I sketched it three times.  Then I took a trip to the National Gallery of Art and took notes on style and color.  I study the brush strokes and try to figure out what colors were used.  

I arrive at the gallery and set up. While sketching I try to remember my notes.  In spite of my preparation I kept sketching the head too big!  The head is really very small on the canvas and I was making it much to prominent.  After calming down I think I have it proportionally correct. 

Then...color!  I got the folds of the fabric in and began placing color in the night gown.  It is dark...but I will lighten it up later on. 

Here is the result of my days' work.  I am happy with the folds...they still need work, and the gown has to be quite a bit can see the bowl and pitcher in the background...the value of the gown has to be lighter than I have some work to do.  I was afraid to start too light...but I will be able to lighten it up.  

I did meet a lot of nice always...and got some very nice comments in spite of my struggles.  One man was telling his son all about me and my work (his son was about three years old)...then he came back about a half hour later to say he forgot to tell me I was doing a good job!  hahaha!!!  


  1. Awh- I really like that man who took the time to come back and tell you that! I think this is a wonderful start. And smart decision to be darker- can always lighten as you said. This one looks tough because it's gestural and almost an action shot....keep going- you got this!! Love it so far!

  2. WOW!!! This is an amazing piece, Maria and you should be so proud of it. You're getting so good with the likeness and I love the colors! I love this one!!! Isn't it wonderful when people take the time out to comment on your work?!!

  3. I love it already! It's going to be a good one. You are doing a great job!

    It's really fun to watch your progress. What an adventure!

  4. Oh I love this painting by Cassatt. It is looking great Maria.


Yayyy!!! Thanks for commenting!