After Amedeo Modigliani

I’ve been a member at WetCanvas! for quite a while now, putting up entries in bursts. I’ve been wanting to participate in Weekend Drawing Event (WDE) and to paint a Master of the Month (MOM) for quite a while now. MOM is the study of a master artist and his work, style and techniques by copying one of two selected pieces. There is also an option of selecting from two photos from the Image Reference Library to create your own work in the style and/or technique of the featured master .

I’ve decided to have a go at this MOM since the artist for the months of September and October is Amedeo Modigliani, one of my favourites. I had the good fortune of seeing the exhibition, Modigliani – Beyond the Myth, a couple of years ago. This exhibit had a large collection of his work. Here are links to the reviews of that exhibition in Lancette and The Julliard Journal.

To ensure that I do participate I’m making the preliminary sketches public hoping that it forces me to at least make a serious attempt at completing this project. I hope to do more than one and would like to start with a painting in his style. I’ll be using a B&W photo reference of Modigliani’s to make this portrait. My first attempts at converting the photograph into what I think would be a drawing in Modigliani’s style. Made on 8″X10″ paper in ink.

Amadeo Modigliani Amadeo Modigliani

Update: Sep 6: Selecting colors for the final piece. I tried a color sketch. I’m a bit irritated that I didn’t wait to get a photocopy of the drawing coz now I’ll just have to draw it again for the next bunch of colors. I’m happy with the orange but not with the blue and umber of his sweater. I’m thinking of using sap green / burnt umber instead. It should go better with the orange background as well. Made on 8″ X 10″ paper using poster colors

Color sketch color sketch 2

Update: Sep 7: Color Selection continues – tried another color combination from the colors used in his portrait of Chaim Soutine. also Modigliani had painted a light blue sweater wrapped around his neck in his last self portrait and I wanted to get that but mine turned out too bright. Made on 8″ X 10″ paper using poster colors
Color Sketch 3Color Sketch 4cs-5.jpg

Update: Sep 8: Color selection finalised using quick studies – Tried out 3 more variations and I’m thinking of going with the one with the orange background, olive green sweater and dark, filled in eyes.

I made these in ArtRage using the last one that I had painted as a base. The first one took me a bit of time as I was familarizing myself with using the tablet instead of paper but the next two which were just a change in the color of the sweater took me a few minutes each. Really neat. I cant praise ArtRage enough. I’ve opened and quickly closed Photoshop many times finding it too complicated and bit overwhelming to start. This one is the first that I’ve found in quite a while that is easy, capable, fun to use and its free! ๐Ÿ˜€

Update: Sep 11: Choosing to do the Bonus option of copying one of Modigliani’s nudes, “Seated Nude 2”. He did a series of nudes on commission for the art dealer Leopold Zborowski. These form the bulk of the 30 odd nudes that he painted. The group has the option of trying out one of his nudes and I chose this one. I made the drawing with pencil on 12″ X 14″ paper. I’m hoping to gesso it and finish it in oil.

Seated Nude 2Elena Povolozky

Update: Sep 16: Copying his painting of “Elena Povolozky“. I got stuck while trying to move to working on a canvas. Friends on the forum were very encouraging and it had me wanting to do something and here is the result of my effort. A copy of his painting of Elena Povolozky. Turned out a bit manly but I’m pleased with the colors [ I was until I saw the online reference – all the works printed in my book are very very dark ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ] and to have learnt that Modigliani seemed to have painted form effortlessly.

Update : Oct 3 : Painting the nude in oil and copying “Man with a Pipe”: The first layer of oils were added about 10 days back and the second just yesterday. Still a long way to go.

Seated Nude 2Seated Nude 2

and then a short while back I decided to have a go at the Man with a Pipe (The Notary of Nice). This I like almost as much as the man with the orange background ๐Ÿ˜€ I had planned to use poster colors but ended up using Art Rage. I’ve used Layers again and seemed to have done a bit better with them this time. The yellow background was fun to do. I’ve got some really nice comments for this one on Flickr and I’m thinking of having a go at it with my poster colors too. ๐Ÿ˜›

man with yellow background

Charles Baudelaire put up a couple of good links in the MOM post on WetCanvas! on Modigliani and his style of painting which I’d like to keep with this post
1. A pencil drawing of the Seated Nude on the MOMA site.
2. Seated Nude Painting with an X-Rayed image of it. See smaller versions side by side on the Art & Architecture, UK website.

Update : Oct 11 : Copying “The Man with the Orange Background”. The paint on the nude is not dry as yet and I havent started work on the Modigliani Portrait. Decided to try out a new medium for this one. It’s one of my favorites, man with the orange background. It’s still WIP. I’m surfing the colour pencil forum on WetCanvas! to see how I can make this better. Rubbing alcohol or turpentine is one of the options I’m considering ๐Ÿ˜› Using a set of 12 Color Pencils on 8″ X 10″ paper.
WIP - Man with the orange backgroundWIP 2 - Man with orange background

Update : Oct 16, 29, 30 & 31st: Photo Reference of Modigliani sitting in his Studio to be made using his style. I’ve changed my mind yet again ๐Ÿ˜€ and have decided that the B&W photograph of Modigliani sitting on a chair in his studio would be a better one to attempt. The canvas has been primed – finally :P. It’s a bit big at 24″ X 30″. And below is the digital study that’s been made to select the colors that i’d like to use. Last nights efforts had to be wiped clean luckily it just spurred me on and today’s attempt has been photographed and put below. It needs to be reduced but I needed to step back and that’s what i’m doing now :P. More work on it tomorrow.

Update : Nov 3, 2006 :ย  Took a break for a couple of days as I wanted Burnt Umber and didnt have any.ย  Today I surfed and found out at that I could make it by mixing Ultramarine Blue with Burnt Sienna.ย  Needed that for his suit.ย  Also lightened the background.ย  I need to go back in an make it darker behind him after the paint has dried.
Modigliani in his studio - ref modi portrait for colors WIP - Modigliani in his studioWIP 2 - Modigliani in his Studio WIP 3 - Modigliani in his Studio Day 4 - Modigliani in his Studio

Update: Oct 28, 2006 : I had thought that there would be just the oil painting of the study above but I’ve yet to start it. While on holiday I made a pen & ink sketch from a photo reference. Was trying to kill time in between flights. I think I might like to make an etching with this sketch as a reference.



12 thoughts on “After Amedeo Modigliani

  1. Pingback: Project Modigliani « Maya

  2. Pingback: Another Modigliani copy « Maya

  3. I tend to agree — I Like the dark olive sweater, dark eyes and orange back ground best — the dark against the orange really brings my eyes to the fellow — !

  4. Wow I am so glad I did not miss this. Late, due to life off course, however this is a wonderful study of his work. I have never considered doing work inspired by a past artist. You share with the viewer a unique thought process, one that only a true artist considers.

  5. Robin, for me too this was a first. I’ve copied some works of a few artists but never really given thought to making paintings in their style. It’s been a great experience so far. Thank you for your comment. ๐Ÿ˜€

  6. Ujwala — I don’t know how I missed your post the first time around, but this is really an exciting project! I like the oranges, but I really like the red and buff background with that awesome cobalt turquoise sweater best! It’s funny how we are all so different — that’s what makes the world go round, isn’t it! ๐Ÿ˜€ And there was something just delightful about your first drawing, where the head was a bit large — like a caricature, but not in the sense that it was disrespectful or poking fun — just a wonderful interpretation of a person. The pen and ink portrait at the end would make a great wood-cut — hope you decide to do it! Now – off to your other blog and then to wet canvas to see more details about this little thing they’ve got going on over there …

  7. Linda, thank you for your comments and I’m glad you found it. After returning and finding this post with not one comment I was beginning to think that I’d committed a cardinal crime and was wondering what it might have been.

    I too think that his head is a bit too big. I seem to either make them too large or too little ๐Ÿ˜› Since it was done with a pen making changes was not easy and so I left it as is. I have a similar problem with hands and feet too.ย  I’ve just edited the post to indicate that i was trying to convert the photograph into a drawing following Modigliani’s style.ย  He didnt make big heads though ๐Ÿ˜› just extra long necks.

    I love the fact that people are different and have different opinions and their reasons for it. It helps me see things different point of view. So thank you again for giving me yours. ๐Ÿ˜€

    I haven’t done any woodcuts as yet. Karen Winters’ recent post led me to Belinda del Pesco and I was hoping to use the method that she has explained and try a Monotype.

    Hope to see you at WetCanvas too. It’s a great site for artists.

    Belinda’s Blog –
    Her write-up on Monotypes –

  8. Ujwala, I’m just marveling at the fact that you kept at this until you got the desired result. I know what you mean about not making the photocopy the first time around. Lots of work here.

  9. Marilyn, thank you. ๐Ÿ˜€ I dont think I would’ve been so prolific with most artists work but Modigliani is one of my favorites.ย  And quite a few of these are digitally done.ย  This project has been super fun and the two months have whizzed by too quickly. I wish I could have tried more. The long holiday towards the end did not help ๐Ÿ˜› The main painting will take a while to finish. I’m glad for the deadline which pushed me into starting it.

  10. Pingback: A Portrait Swap « draw the line

  11. Pingback: A study for a painting? I think it’s just procrastination :D « Maya

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