Copying Art

Outdoor Watercolors - Copying

Is it legitimate to copy another person's painting? Of course it is---if your intention is solely to learn from that experience. In fact, it is a good idea. Pick a simple painting which interests you and copy the form and the color as best you can. You will learn a great deal about color, mixing, brush techniques, etc.
Only you had better not choose a really sophisticated painting, like Sargent, or in later years, an Ogden Pleissner. Their refinement is beyond me---and probably beyond you too. You might try picking a "Moore"---any one from this book that pleases you. You will learn a great deal. Only don't sign it with your own name. That simply is not done!
Worse, don't sign your painting "Monet" and try to palm it off at Sotheby's. There is a name for that---and probably a prison sentence as well.
Most of the masters began by copying. If they can do it---you can do it too. But don't carry it too far. Learn their techniques, and then go on to express yourself by encountering your very own subject matter in your very own style and technique. Only then does "copying" begin to become "art."



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