Carr Copied, Channeled, and June up-dated

I continue this week’s tasks: copying Emily Carr, imitating Emily Carr, doing a June version of Emily Carr, and repainting or recycling earlier works that have nothing to do with Emily Carr.

Actually, the recycling comes first. Sanding and over-painting with white gives me lots of new supports to paint on. And it gets rid of paintings that irritate me, or that I now see are mediocre or worse. In order to learn as quickly as possible (I don’t have any time to waste)  I have to paint a lot. But painting a lot results in a pile of bad stuff. It feels good to cull it. I sort out my paintings, overpainting the obviously bad ones, leaving some alone for a couple of months until I decide on them, down-sizing series after I suss out how the whole lot fits together, and sometime not over-painting ones I think could be reworked, at least not until I try reworking them. So it’s not an impulsive pitching out, but rather a ridding my storage space of paintings that are clearly inadequate and irredeemable.

I reworked the Emily Carr painting I did from “memory”  by looking at the reproduction of the Carr painting and painting over what I had done. It was definitely better than the simulcrum of Carr, although, as usual, not as good as the original (duh):

EmilyCarrCopyDraft2WI worked on shapes this time, trying to figure out how she simplifies without making cardboard cutouts of her shapes. I’m getting the hang of it.

Then I wiped that canvas clear of the imagery:

emilyCarrCopyErasedW(Not bad, eh?)

And copied another Carr, somewhat more successfully this time:

ECTheLittlePineCopyWCopy of Emily Carr, The Little Pine, post 1930.

I never got the shapes in the background on the left to look like trees, but I had too much paint on the canvas to really clear up the problem. I’m getting better at finding and reproducing her shapes. I understand something of the way she mixes color on the canvas and what I think is her brush manipulation, but I’m not up to achieving that yet.  I do like the effect of wind blowing the center tree branches and hope I can remember this effect. I got tired before I tried to do one without looking — that will come next. Then we’ll see whether I’ve learned anything.

I didn’t wipe this one off yet; I want to keep it for reference.  I’ve included a copy of the image of Carr’s painting below the signature, so you can check it out for yourself. –June

carr23Carr’s is much more dramatic and powerful. Sigh. Once again, I’m working on a differently proportioned canvas. But the center tree on my copy could have been bigger, with more dramatic colors. And the background (on mine) needs to be darker. Value is something I had to work on with the paintings from Mt. Tabor also — I’ve already reworked a couple of those, darkening the darks and lightening the lights. Even with the Carr image in front of me, I didn’t spread the values.  Ah, so much to learn. And remember.

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4 Responses to Carr Copied, Channeled, and June up-dated

  1. June says:

    I think that if I look at a painting and say to myself that it would be better with a bit of stitching — my suspicion is it isn’t as good a painting as it should be. So your acrylic artist must have done very well indeed.

    And no, I’m not going to add stitching to the wiped canvas. More paint, more paint, more paint!


  2. Sheila says:

    More good insights. I definitely get the potential embarrassment in someone praising your creativity when in fact the idea/image is not your own. I did that once and those not familiar with the original painting thought I was oh so clever. No, I just wanted to see if I could execute that clever idea in fabric with a twist of my own. I could, I love the piece, but found myself spending way too much time explaining its source.

    The double effort you speak of in painting, then stitching cloth…I once had this aha moment when looking at some abstract paintings. They looked unfinished to me. I realized that the artist had stopped at a point I would just be getting going – by adding texture and detail with stitch and embellishments. Nothing wrong with those paintings, just that I would take the concept further in my medium. Not a double effort, just continuing effort I guess. Then there’s the acrylic artist I ran across who’s work looked like it must be a textile. She commented that many people thought her work was that, even expecting to find beads upon closer inspection, but it was all paint. Her work had an incredible richness. I could think of nothing to add!

    And yes, the wiped canvas up there is pretty good – now add some stitching to it! vbg


  3. June says:


    Paintings give me instant gratification, even if I get slightly off them later. They are lots faster than quilts I make. It makes sense, in my work, that this should be the case, since I paint the whole cloth quilt and then stitch it. This is double the effort, and since I struggle still with the sewing craft, I’m always thinking that I should just go to canvas and forget about the stitchery. But people like you keep poking me up…….

    Oh, and by the way, I pushed the value further in the copy of The Little Pine and played with getting the color to be both vibrant and delicate (more or less successfully). I liked that painting, so I instantly wiped it out. There’s nothing more mortifying than having someone see something in your studio that they comment favorable on and then having to admit that you copied it. So the canvas is whitened and ready for the next bit of Carr. I have two more paintings that I want to copy and play with.


  4. Sheila says:

    Thanks for your detailed explanation of your learning process. You are more disciplined than I am to be able to cull and discard. Or maybe you just paint more canvases than I make quilts!


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