I’ve been taking great pleasure recently in doing quick ‘thumbnail’ sketches (or more like 5-thumbnails-scale sketches) of what we call the ‘masters’. Whilst this term is ridiculously gendered, I think we all know what it means. For many, we may have intimate relationships with the ‘masters’ or ‘mistresses’ that call out to us as painters. From a diverse range of canons and cultural contexts. Who inspire us to see the world through old and new aesthetic traditions whilst remaining true to the singularity of our own vision. Looking at them with a pencil or pen in one hand and pad in the other can only be useful.
The prompt for this was this book by an old friend, Sara Lee Roberts, in which she gives clear examples of the part drawing from and reinterpreting the ‘masters’ plays in her artistic practice. Such a great way to keep that eye, hand relationship alive and kicking.
Here’s one example of a quick sketchTiepolo drawing of cupids at my local museum, the Ashmolean. It formed part of a small exhibition of works by Philip Guston, a painter whose work I love, and was used for its complementary resonance to a canvas of Guston with just two thick black stripes at the top suggesting flight. The whole point is that it’s not meant to be a perfect reproduction, but more an encounter that taught me about Tiepolo’s approach to composition. You’ll need to click on the pic to see it more clearly.