There's something about feathers. I saw the original painting of these chickens at Melissa Weinman Studio, and I wanted it. I felt like I could reach out and plunge my fingers into the chickens' feathers and feel the texture, feel a chicken squirming, even feel the heat from the sun. Of course, the price of the painting was out of my reach. After a week or two I thought of a solution: what if I made a mastercopy of that painting? THAT would be affordable. It's not all that common to make a mastercopy of a contemporary artist's work -- I usually see art students laboring away in front of reproductions of Rembrandts, Riberas, and Bouguereaus -- but why not? I could have a close facsimile of the painting I desired, AND I would learn a lot in the process of making it. Melissa was pleased that I wanted to copy her painting, and she agreed. Below is Melissa's original painting on the left, and my copy on the right. I suppose it goes into the Portrait category. What a challenge -- and what fun!
I drew a portrait a month ago that I was proud of. It was a mastercopy, so the master artist, Jacob Collins, had worked out the composition, the color palette -- all the planning problems. All I had to do was make a good copy of his painting, and soak in the artistic wisdom. I spent about 15 hours on it, using about 30 colors of pastel pencil.
Later, I decided to frame the drawing, and I found a good frame in my studio. I only needed the mats. I prepared my drawing for a trip to the frame shop. I looked around for a sheet of slippery paper to tape over the drawing to protect it. I couldn't find anything in my studio, and I was running out of time. I went into the house and I saw a roll of wax paper on the kitchen counter. Eureka! Wax paper! It's cheap, it's on hand, and it should work. I tore off a sheet and taped it over my drawing.
At the frame shop, I removed the wax paper and chose the mats. (Why do I always choose expensive mats?) I put the wax paper back on, and I put the drawing in the back of my car. I drove to school to attend a painting class. The drawing sat in my car for the whole afternoon, and it was a warm day. As I later discovered, the wax paper warmed up, leaving spots of melted wax on my drawing.
Back at home I removed the wax paper and stared. My drawing! My drawing! Oh no!
It was ruined. For the next two days, I felt depressed. I moped. I thought about tearing up the drawing. I thought about ways to salvage it. I couldn't really think about anything else. Eventually, I came back to life and did a little studio organizing.
Now the drawing is hanging on the studio wall, unframed. It will not be framed or offered for sale. I will, however, refer to it when working on my next portrait.
The morals of the story are: (A) Child, step away from the wax paper. (B) When one drawing dies, another will surely be born. Have a good cry, and make your way back to the easel.
Update (2018): I framed the drawing after all, wax spots and all, and hung it in our bedroom. A cautionary tale.
Veronica was an admired figure model at Gage Academy of Art. She has now moved to Florence, Italy, to develop her modeling career. I hope someday she'll be back. The slideshow shows the evolution of my drawing of the lovely Veronica.
Update (2018): Veronica has been back in Seattle for a few years. I no longer prowl the halls of Gage Academy of Art, but I hope she does. She's a wonderful model—a paragon of femininity.
My first portrait commission included three siblings. This is the first of three drawings. Charcoal and chalk on toned paper.
Amanda Teicher creates oil paintings in the realist tradition, focusing on landscape and still life.