There is a long tradition of studying the masters from the past to learn from them. When we do a master copy we will often be opened up to new possibilities with color, composition, brushwork and drawing.
I did one recently for an ImagineFX Workshop, in issue 144. You can read the article here: ImagineFX Workshop and see the accompanying steps.
I learned more about how Bouguereau paints skin and hair and was reminded of how loose he often paints areas of less importance. The fabric was very loosely painted and except for a few areas the hair was just indicated with big shapes and gradients.
Here is a time-lapse of the study that I did:
I also have an upcoming workshop at the Scottsdale Artist's School where I will conduct an old master copy class. I will go over different methods, color harmony, palettes, and how to apply what you learn to your own work. If you are interested, it is in January (Arizona in January is wonderful) and I would love to have some Muddy Colors friends there. I taught it this last year and had a wonderful time and made great new friends. You can find more information here: Scottsdale Artist's School
This is a recent painting of mine done with several of my favorite artists in mind, but with my own vision. It is now in the permanent collection of the Springville Museum of Art in Utah.
One last little tidbit. I didn't think this warranted it's own post, but I have been using these wonderful little sketchbooks lately from Stillman and Birn. They are pocket sized (3.5" x 5.5") and have excellent paper. They fit my SketchWallet too. Great for pencil, ink and watercolor. I bet they would take a primer well if you wanted to do little oil studies in them.
Here are a few drawings from them. 180 lbs. paper and it takes pencil beautiful and erases well without pulling up.
They make a portrait and landscape version and you can get them on Amazon: Landscape or Portrait
Very convenient size. They can fit into a coat pocket or small purse easily and make for nice inconspicuous sketching.
That's all for this time. Come join me on my Instagram page to see more sketches and studies.