Friday, December 28, 2007

Beach Scene, After Dan McCaw

This painting is taken from a painting in Dan McCaw's wonderful book, A Proven Strategy for Creating Great Art. He confesses in the book that he just made this composition/color study up on the spot. Strategy is a book I look at again and again, and always recommend to my students. You can tell it is cold and rainy here--hence all the indoor painting.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'd like to share an exercise with you. On the left is my version of a composition by Sargeant, on the right is the original. He completed this sketch on a trip to Morocco in 1880. I enjoyed the composition so much that I did a version of it with warmer tones and a palette knife, rather than using Sargent's cool colors and soft brushwork.

This type of exercise raises the question of forgery... is my version of the original a forgery? Does it only become a forgery if I have tried to reproduce the painting stroke for stroke and color for color, or is just quoting the composition enough? Would it be forgery if I went to Morocco, found the same spot, and painted there? Or would it now be a pilgrimage dedicated to a great painter? Lots of people have painted the Grand Canal in Venice or the same local barn, and some of those paintings look remarkably similar.

Maybe it is only a forgery if I try to pass it off as my own idea, or as a duplicate of the original. Occasionally, people offer to buy these "experimental copies", but I always feel like they are just exercises, not authentic Ann McMillan paintings.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pears and Persimmons 18 x 24 inches, pastel

The El Camino Art Association in Arroyo Grande invited me to their meeting to do a demonstration. Here is what I came up with. It was a fun demonstration with an audience very interested in pastel and enthusiastic for the way I use the medium. The next day I gave a mini-workshop in the organizer's lovely garden. It was a very fun visit to the San Luis Obispo area.