A mastercopie 2
Because I have found Ilja Repin to be a pleasant “tour guide” and because despite my many learning moments with Nadia’s painting, I feel I can learn much more from this brilliant painter, I choose to do a double portrait outdoors.
When I visited the great Repin retrospective ‘The Secret of Russia’ in Groningen in 2001, I could hardly get away from these paintings (I admit… it sounds a bit dramatic but it just felt so magical between those lifelike portraits) so I immediately bought a catalog in the museum shop. In the train on the way home I leafed through my brand new book and saw all that beauty pass by until I saw that one ‘strange’ painting again. Was it really a painting or just a photo as an explanation of his life? No really, it is a painting! I am talking about the painting The Landwalkers.
I have collected many art books over the years but this book by Ilya Repin is by far the most looked at book on my bookshelf. Years later I come across The Landwalkers again in my now somewhat disheveled Repin book. Now is the time to also get to the bottom of this work of art, which excels in tonal contrasts and a subtle and ‘limited’ color palette (nothing could be further from the truth).
While painting this copy I learned, especially at the start, to think in large simplified forms (this scene is dying of details) and during the process slowly but surely to add more and more detail in tone, color and brushstroke.
A quality reference image is a must. I also learned here never to work with two different prints. It’s a tempting choice when you want the color of a blurred example and the sharpness of a reproduction whose color doesn’t match the original. But you run into all sorts of inconsistencies in the long run in which the painting loses its power.
I can recommend making a master copy to everyone, it is a valuable study. Choose a painting of your preference and just get to work. You will learn through a master copy indirectly from great talented individuals that you would normally never be able to get face-to-face lessons from in a studio. Through this training, I was taught by a teacher who is acclaimed worldwide for his craftsmanship and artistic vision and who lived way before my time. How wonderful is that!
After making master copies, reading books, visiting museums, watching interviews and documentaries, I remain as fascinated by this master Ilja Repin as I was when I first encountered his work in Groningen in 2001. What a quality!
Grab your chance to meet this painter in Assen while you still can. There are several masterpieces by Ilja Repin hanging in the Drents Museum until April 2017. Including the Woolgaslepers (This painting has the same status in Russia as The Night Watch by Rembrandt in the Netherlands)