Trying to emulate other artists can spoil your painting journey

Thought I’d reblog this though I’m not sure about the argument put forward. I’m not sure why having teachers whose work you do not like should stop you learning the techniques of artists of the past. I painted a copy of a self portrait by Andre Derain and this made me study his technique. I then applied what I’d learned to a self portrait of my own in his style, which is now one of my favourite paintings. I don’t think trying to paint in another artist’s style means your work does not have your own input or is sterile. What do other people think?


by Robert Conway

Once I have my finished my layout for my next painting its a done deal, i’m sticking with the plan. I am going to try my best to not only recreate that image into a painting, but make it better. If you have already started your painting and say go to a museum and get inspired with the way a certain artist renders clouds for example, maybe this is something you might want to experiment with down the road, but not with the project you are currently working on.

The post modern notion that everything has been done already can be a blight on your creativity. In this culture of continuously recycled ideas, I refuse to adhere to this notion, vehemently. As someone who grew up at the during the tail end of this country’s golden age, where there seemed to an abundance fresh ideas and this thing called ‘optimism’, it pains me to see how America has…

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About notes to the milkman

I'm a printmaker based in the North West of England, living in Bolton and printing at Hot Bed Press in Salford. Please visit my website
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6 Responses to Trying to emulate other artists can spoil your painting journey

  1. Well, it was part of traditional art study to copy old masters.

  2. mags says:

    Echoing Rosie’s comment. Also, I think there’s a big difference between copying someone else’s pictures and/or style in order to learn, and doing so in order to adopt their style as your own. One way of avoiding the latter might be to ‘copy’ as wide a range of styles as possible. Maybe it comes down to how well you know your own mind? How strong an aesthetic sense you have? I don’t know… I just find it useful to work from someone else’s pictures now and then, as I always learn something from it. Doesn’t mean I want to park myself there for evermore. 🙂

  3. seascapesaus says:

    There are so many approaches to painting. In theory it is a powerful exercise to paint in the style of… Time I did it! Reading the whole of Busy Brush’s post and some previous ones with comments it seems that the author feels most comfortable working with a predetermined plan from a photoshop image. It might be difficult for him to undo his ties to that at the moment. And btw John, your recent drawing of the ballerina was delightfully reminiscent of Degas!

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