Artists have been copying each other for ages. To learn from each other, to draw inspiration, to adapt a work to their own hand. The teacher shows us various examples of such plagiarism. She has made black and white copies of various artworks. I choose Madame Ines Montoissier by Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres (1856). I love the reflection in the mirror, the hand on her face and most of all her look.
Like we do in every class, we start with some charcoal sketches. Different angles, different cut outs. It helps to determine what it is exactly that fascinates and that needs to be recreated.
This will be the sketch I will try to paint. I have taken the liberty to forget about reality and place the woman and her reflection together without the explanation of the mirror. They might be the same woman, they might not. This will just be a study of different angles of a face.
When I am browsing art books at home I find a portrait of a woman who has been painted in the same way: a portrait of the mother of the artist H. Rigaud (I forgot the write down the year).
In one evening I manage to create a basic painting. Many details need to be filled in, but I am happy with this first draft. And can't wait to get back to it.
One week later, we finish the painting. I am very happy with how the faces turn out, but not so happy with the background and the dresses. I guess I would have needed another evening to go over it.
A big revelation to me tonight is that due to a lack of time, I quickly brush some paint on the canvas to suggest a light blue head scarf. To my surprise this turns out to be the best part of the painting! It feels spontaneous and it looks textured. I have to remember that.