Sunday, 22 September 2013

Composition from Reproductions

Analysis of Reproductions - Darks
Based on "The Arch of Titus in Rome, 
before restoration carried out by Valadier" by Canaletto
20 September 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
10cm x 13cm (4" x 5")

This is a long overdue post – “Composition from Reproductions” and “Analysis of Reproductions” are probably the only exercises from the Natural Way to Draw which haven’t appeared on this blog.

Composition from Reproductions involves drawing small gesture studies from reproductions of works of art. Kimon Nicolaides instructions are:
“Allow the eye and the pencil, more or less at the same time, to roam in a rather easy and casual manner wherever the movement, lines, forms, darks and lights seem to beckon, with no attempt to delineate their meaning either with your pencil or in your mind.”

Composition from Reproductions
Based on "Assisi" and "Small Fishing Boats Treport France"
by Maurice Prendergast
15 August 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
16cm x 24cm (6.25" x 9.5")

Analysis of Reproductions includes three extensions to the basic exercise:

  • Take one of the gesture studies and emphasise the dark areas in the work of art
  • Turn one of the gesture studies upside down and use it as a starting point for a gesture study of something you have recently seen or done
  • Take one of the gesture studies and analyse the straight and curved lines in the composition

Nicolaides suggests the student should be able to complete 6 studies in less than 15 minutes and should do 6 studies a day for 4 years – what a hard task master.

I am still following the exercise, but not quite at this intensity. I tend to draw 20 studies a week and skip weeks when I am busy.
Analysis of Reproductions - Straight and Curved Lines
Based on "Perspective View with Portico" by Canaletto
20 September 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
11.5cm x 14cm (4.5" x 5.5")

The main benefit of the exercise is it is expanding my knowledge and appreciation of art – I am looking at art that I wouldn't have studied if it wasn't for the exercise.

Analysis of Reproductions - Upside Down Gesture
Passengers Boarding a Plane
Based on "London Westminster Abbey With A Procession Of Knights Of The Bath 1749" 
by Canaletto
20 September 2013
Graphite Pencil on Paper
13cm x 13cm (5" x 5")

If you are interested in looking at the originals you can find them at:
This exercise must have been more challenging in the days before the internet. Perhaps everyone used to have huge books of reproductions instead of computers.

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