After my trip to the Met I was very excited about seeing Vermeer’s painting Study of a Young Woman. I decided I wanted to try copying a Vermeer.
Although I loved the Study of a Young Woman I don’t think I am up to its subtleties. Well actually I am not sure I am up to the one I picked either but I loved the painting so I wanted to give it a shot.
I decided to attempt two works of art. Antique Warrior which is a metal point drawing by DaVinci and Girl with a Pearl Earring by Vermeer. Both are fairly ambitious but I’ve been itching to paint.
To prepare I went to a copy shop and enlarged the Vermeer, DaVinci and a couple of other paintings. The purpose is to use the copies to see more detail as I paint and I will destroy them once finished.
I started on the Vermeer first. I redrew it several times and finally settled on this one.
I still need to rework her nose, right eye and the top of her turban/hat and take out the reflected light along her jaw. This is what the copy and the picture I used look like side by side. It’s not a great picture so I apologize in advance but at least it gives you an idea of where I am heading.
I have always loved DaVinci’s Antique Warrior. Although the British museum states it is metalpoint, I believe the drawing was silverpoint (due to the pantina evident). So I prepped a 10″x14″ piece of bristol board. Because the drawing is so complex, I transferred the image with charcoal rather than risking it freehand.
This is the original on the left. I found this image at the Universal Leonardo website which is a great source for information on DaVinci. The actual image I used was from a book I found at Strand Books in NYC. This image was much clearer so I decided to post this one.
I discovered some interesting things while copying this, I kept thinking this is going too well when drawing the curlicues of the ribbons and feathery plants. That made me wonder if DaVinci was left handed. Turns out he was so that explains why it seemed so much easier than I thought it would be.
I also discovered a problem (for me at least) with silverpoint. I was looking at something that had a beautiful pantina yet here I was trying to recreate these gorgeous darks with something that would take years to darken to this point. So I had to settle for lighter and hope for the best.
I still need to do some significant work to the arms, breastplate and helm. I decided to leave the head and neck alone for a bit until those are done and I have my darkest dark established.
When I took this picture it came out very light. To make the line work visible I fiddled with the contrast so that you could see the lines of the drawing.