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Original Creation

Study After John Singer Sargent

dracula 18 Jan 2021

This is a study after John Singer Sargent's painting Simplon Pass, 1911. After the very slow, methodical Ivan Shishkin study I completed a few weeks ago, I really wanted to try something that was more expressive and had more to do with the quick application of values.

I am making a concerted effort to make my painting process more efficient.

In that spirit, I put this down on the panel very quickly with minimal blending. It all basically went into place in one go for all the mid-tones and then a second pass for more contrast and chroma in the foreground.

From what I understand, John Singer Sargent did a lot of premixing of colors so that when it came time to apply paint, he could just load the brush and put the paint in place. I did this as well by premixing about 30 colors which comprise most of the painting with some additions toward the end.

I think I will continue to explore some more expressive landscapes; I think there is a lot for me to learn in this realm.

My study is 11x14 inches, which is about 3 times smaller than the original, I think.



Oh Dracula! This is fantastic methodology and extra shots you shared. I plan to try the approach with under painting with burnt umber too as teachers say it improves the value handling when in color mode. Would you say it is true?

I recall that still life I did las January where I premixed a lot of colors, maybe in the same range 20-30. I will say at that time it was an exercise! I hated it as I struggled to match color and value to the real object. However when I painted it was so much easier.

I love the expressive brush strokes you have here! Mountains is excellent subject for this expressiveness. Did you use your wax medium to create the texture? Grays are gorgeous! Extremely wonderful work with the color! So artistic.

One more question - did you use more rough texture of the canvas?

dracula Power Painter

Thank you @SunnyLady, I always and truly appreciate getting your input and expertise!

Yes, I think a Burnt Umber (or similar) canvas preparation does lend a warmth and better overall seating of the different values. I think the most important function is to remove the stark white of the gesso or ground from the painter's eyes allowing more accurate renditions of value, as you said.

I agree, premixing so many colors beforehand is kind of a hassle (and probably more wasteful). But yes, it does make painting actually easier. It probably saves time in the long run.

For this painting, I hardly used any medium at all. Just a tiny bit of the Maroger medium at time when the paint wasn't cooperating. To get the texture, I just took some advice from John Singer Sargent himself which is to not starve your palette. I took that to mean to make sure you have enough paint available to be able to load your brush generously. I am usually a little less cavalier about glopping on so much paint in one brushstroke and barely, if ever, returning to that passage.

The thing that is so cool about Sargent's work, and the reason I wanted to do a study after him is that, through his masterful use of value, he's able to achieve a very convincing realism when his paintings are viewed at a distance, but as you get closer it all breaks down into a mess of expressive, colorful brushstrokes. The photo of this study is kind of too near; the painting reads best from across the room.

I was thinking of Maroger after looking at close up photo and knowing you like it. I do not feel alright to use much of the paint as well. That's why I think I progressed to the smooth paintings recently. I simply cannot buy Winsor and Newton paints for decent money in Russia I think it got to my subconscious and I try to survive with what I have .

Once I went to museum and there was an exhibition of one modern artist. He is in his 80s now. He likes painting villages and flowers. It was wonderful I did not forget my glasses at home. otherwise I would never have noticed that same effect you described. I had to stand good 18 ft from the painting to see it in whole. When i was approaching closer it was falling in parts. I mean those painting would not hang in my house simply because no room is 18 ft in size. :) but it was a pleasure to see that interesting effect, that later repeated with Repin paintings in Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.

Dracula, I am no expert at all, thank you for your kind words, I just like sharing what I learnt. It helps me to memorize things better.

At this moment I feel stuck again in the painting path and again feel lost to what direction to follow. I still think I do not need to develop my own style, I want to be universal and creative in things I do. I feel tired of landscapes/seascapes at the moment. Did you feel anything similar? Do you have any advice?

Holy heck! Majestic rocks!

Felix Creator of

I love the detail shots, thanks for uploading this!

lightsnow Community Helper

Wonderful painting. Great brush strokes! Very "museum worthy!" I'm not sure how else to explain it!

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