Friday, March 17, 2017

copying at the National Gallery of art - Young Woman in a Kimono

beginning of my copy of "Young Woman in Kimono"
copied at the National Gallery of art in Washington DC

I recently spent a week in Washington DC and was able to paint a copy at the National Gallery of Art.  I became a copyist when I lived near DC and tried to continuously work on copying one of the master's paintings on a weekly basis.  Now as an "out of towner" I apply to copy for a week at a time...or however many days I can get into a gallery in a week's time. 

The copyist program is a wonderful opportunity to study the masters and learn as much as possible about strokes, colors, composition and the lives of these amazing artists.  I study the artist, their palette, their life and spend some time sketching the piece I am going to copy.  Once I get to the gallery I set up and begin.  I always start with a blank white canvas and just dive in. 

The painting I chose for this copyist session is, Young Woman in Kimono by Alfred Maurer.   I  chose it because it has a rich color palette of muted tones with bright swashes of red accenting the kimono.  I do love kimonos and have a collection of my own  that I love to paint.  I had not heard of Alfred Maurer and was excited to discover a new to me!  After checking out his work I must admit that the painting I copied is my favorite of all his works.  I feel very fortunate. 

This is where I am after a couple of long days of work.  I still have a way to go but my time in DC has come to an end and must stop work for now.  My options are to re-apply to complete this work or I can simply move on to another copy.  I will bring it home and make a decision after I digest what I have done. 

The National Gallery of Art is always an adventure.  While copying this gentleman introduced himself as a distant relative of Frank Benson!  How cool is that?  We chatted for a short while about my favorite work of Benson's "Margaret Gretchen Strong."  I fell in love with that painting when I first started painting and have loved it ever since.  It was exciting to meet someone who could have a great Frank Benson talk with me!. 

Another perk of copying at the National Gallery is the concert that was given at on the of atriums near me.  So nice to hear such beautiful music as I painted. 

I was also fortunate to have some friends stop by.  Since I am no longer in the area it is fun to catch a quick lunch and chat with friends.  The steady stream of visitors to the gallery are always polite but very curious.  I enjoy my visits immensely and look forward to my next visit. 


  1. Very cool, Maria. I've never done this but I might get the nerve to try after reading about your experiences.

    1. Yayyy! I hope you do Ruth. It is an amazing experience!

  2. Cool pix. Enjoy the story with the painting.

  3. It's a beautiful copy. What a treasure to be painting there!


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