I decided to test out Sargent’s technique the other day, and I’ve always loved this painting. I usually resist the urge to paint from anyone else’s photos or paintings, but since this was only for myself, I decided to give it a shot. It was very liberating to not have to think too much and just study this master’s brushstrokes…He really was a genius, and his technique is much more difficult than it looks. That economy of brushstroke is extremely hard to pull off. You have to know exactly how your brush is loaded, and exactly where you want the stroke to be. I believe that each brushstroke he placed on the canvas was deliberate. I’m more of a “slam the paint around until it ends up where you want it” painter, but I’m getting better. I’m learning how to plan and see an end product in my head. It’s all such a learning process.
Well, now I have a painting that I’m happy to hang on my wall. It’s so strange hanging my own paintings…all I ever see is the mistakes…but I don’t feel that way about this one.
I have to try to get a better photo of this one, without the blur and the glare, but nonetheless, it’s still one of my favorite paintings to date. I’m getting better with the loose brushstrokes, and this one literally flew off of the brush. It was really inspiring to achieve exactly what I was going for in this painting. It doesn’t happen for me that often. The looseness worked, the colors worked…and thanks very much for the great contributors at WetCanvas for the great reference photo.