Friday, July 23, 2010

Me and Eakins

So the other day I was hangin' with Eakins and I asked him if he'd mind if I took a stab at copying his portrait of Maud. He laughed and said "you think you're up to it, boy?". I said "well no, but that never stopped me before". He said "well go on then, it's your funeral." I asked him to give me some advice and to write down a list of the colors and mixtures that he used but by then he'd had enough of me and threw me out of his studio. So with the painting in hand I went back to my own place and began to try and figure it out. It seemed to me that he mostly used earth colors, burnt sienna, yellow ochre, raw umber, along with flake white and ivory black. He used a little bit of a strong red for accents, I'm guessing vermillion, which I didn't have any of so I used cadmium red light. I've seen Eakins spend months on some portraits and others he knocked out in a single session. I'm guessing that he painted this one pretty directly so that's what I did too. I can see a few things that are off and that will need fixin' before I would dare to show it to him, but I'll wait until the whole things done before I start fiddlin' around. Damn earth colors dry up so fast that by the end of a day's work I can't make any last minute changes because the colors already drying and lightening. I'll oil it out eventually and then I'll show him.

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