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Virtual Paintout - Japan - April 2011

This is my "Postcard from Mount Fuji". It's a tiny painting (10x15cm) as I didn't have much time but I nonetheless wanted to post something this month for Japan. Here's the link to the Google Street View: Google Street View

I checked illustrations of Mount Fuji on the Internet because I wanted to include some Japanese characters: Hokusai


And finally, if you are wondering what I was trying to say, here's a clue: Clue

"Postcard from Mount Fuji"
10x15cm, oil on canvas
(private collection, Brussels)

Springtime

After trying to find the ideal spot to paint in Cape Town for the Virtual Paintout last month and finally giving up simply because time ran out, I'm now travelling "virtually" through Japan. This month's assignment is very difficult in the face of the trajedy that has overwhelmed that country. Yet I want to find something bright and positive with lots of colour. Right now I'm hesitating between a typical view of Mount Fuji or a street scene from Tokyo where Google seems to have captured yellow Gingko trees in the fall.

Meanwhile, I've been updating my "Copies of Famous Paintings" page. I've decided it's time to dust off everything I have on my walls -- a sort of "Spring cleaning" before I get involved in painting again. The Cezanne below ("Le déjeuner sur l'herbe") was the first copy I'd ever painted at the museum. I signed up to be a "copiste" at the Musée de l'Orangerie back in 1986 and was allowed to paint on weekday mornings as long as I observed certain rules (for instance, the painting could not be the same size as the original).



My copy of Cézanne's "Déjeuner sur l'herbe"
30x40, oil on canvas

I was disappointed with this copy because the green paint cracked a bit in the upper lefthand corner, but it wasn't easy getting every painstakingly-placed brushstroke to look like it was freely applied. I was more careful with my next copies. Working at the Musée de l'Orangerie was great because it was quiet. Here's my second try (Claude Monet's "Argenteuil"):



My copy of Monet's "Argenteuil"
oil on canvas
(private collection, Boston)

My third museum copy was another Cezanne:



My copy of Cézanne's "Pommes et biscuits"
oil on canvas
(private collection, Paris)

See my "Copies of Famous Paintings" page for my next Cézanne, "Paysage au Toit Rouge", also copied at the Musée de l'Orangerie.

When I tried to paint a Georges de la Tour at the Louvre, I was in for a shock. Huge crowds shuffled past me daily as I worked, and at one point an entire class sat right down next to me while the professor gave a 20-minute lecture on the painting I was copying (including some commentary about my supposedly bizarre painting methods which didn't match medieval techniques!). Yet, working from the original is an exhiliarating experience which also makes you realise just how bad the colours are on most reproductions.




My copy of De la Tour's "Tricheur à l'as de carreau"
(private collection, Colming)