Friday, 12 July 2013

SISTERS and PAUL GAUGIN


Photograph of painting (no better image available)
SISTERS

BY SEA DEAN after PAUL GAUGIN
18 inch x 14 inch approx (46 cm by 33 cm) Canvas Panel (approximately 1/4 the size of the GAUGIN original)
(Unfortunately when I had completed the painting it was dark and it had to be packed for immediate delivery, so this is a slightly out of focus and poorly lit photograph of the finished work.)


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Ever since I was a student of Art and Art History I´ve copied Masterworks. It´s incredible how much you can learn and my instructors strongly encouraged it. This lead to my signature one day class, PAINT A MASTERPIECE teaching basic to intermediate Acrylic techniques by creating a copy of a master work.

I also love to paint Master commissions and I´m always happy to receive a request for an artist I´ve not studied deeply. My background is in printmaking and graphics, so of course I love PAUL GAUGIN, but I´ve never recreated one of his works.

SISTERS was a commission for any PAUL GAUGIN painting from his Tahitian period. I considered many beautiful works but I knew I wanted it to be feminine and bold. I eventually chose this painting for it´s simplicity, composition and subject matter. The painting has many French and English names, but it is commonly known at TWO TAHITIAN WOMEN. It was painted in 1899 but is as fresh and exciting today as the moment Paul Gaugin laid his last brush stroke.

Part of the challenge in painting this was to find an accurate image online. The painting is in the Metropolitan Museum in New York, USA , making it difficult to be accurate because I´ve never seen it in the flesh. I trolled Google images and found a version which I found pleasing. I knew the colours would be unusual because of the exotic nature of the subject, but I was unprepared for the distance I would be diverted from my usual palette. The finished work is also a much larger size than my paintings in the last few months.

It is a completely different thing to skim a museum, a book or observe a painting for duplication: It is like communicating with the artist. You look for clues in composition, brushwork, background, colour and layering to help you create an accurate rendition. Here I discovered that Gaugin was fond of outlining with near black which is part of his graphic style. There is little evidence of brushwork or impasto technique but there was definite texture in the image I had chosen. The colours were strong but low intensity, mostly muted by adding complimentaries. I could feel how intensely important getting the exact shade was to GAUGIN, after all he came from a totally different painting environment in France.

Perhaps my guide image was poor or maybe the painting itself is losing some of it´s upper layers, but texture was evident. I`ve heard that Gaugin´s paintings are deteriorating badly due to his chosen of substrates and the Tahitian climate they were created in. I was challenged to recreate the weathered look which the commissioner was familiar with. Gaugin was known to paint on anything at hand and once used a door when he had nothing else. I´ve been to Polynesia and I can imagine that canvas was hard to come by and still is; it is a very remote part of the world and everything has to be imported by a long ocean or air journey.

All in all I found the study quite fascinating because I had to abandon my usual of out of the tube and impasto style. I´m pleased to report the owner loved the result and so did I.

PAUL GAUGIN 1848 - 1903
Français : Les Seins aux Fleurs Rouges, ou Deux Tahitiannnes (aux fleurs de mango)
Català: Pits amb flors roges, o Dues tahitianes (amb flors de mango)
Deutsch: Zwei Mädchen mit Mangoblüten
English: Two Tahitian Women
94 × 72.4 cm (37 × 28.5 in)
Oil on Canvas
Signed Gaugin 99

see the original in it`s frame here
Cat 13170 Sisters - Sea Dean after Paul Gaugin
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