Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Watering The Glads, Vermeer and a series of changes

Watering The Glads
8"x6" oil on canvas panel

Artist Note
This is the second in the 
month-long focus of 
painting the figure
inspired by, but not copying,
 a famous painting

This one is inspired by
The Milkmaid
Johannes Vermeer.
The position is what I am after.
I saw this painting a long time ago
and the milk coming out of the jug
blew me away.

This was the start -
a demo for the class.
First, a sketchy start
 from an image in my mind
of my daughter watering her Gladiolus.
some interesting changes...
Someone asked what she would be like
if she had a fuller figure... like
Vermeer's woman.
I scraped it down leaving a ghost
and started to paint.
adding some weight on her,
I altered the hat, added
more paint everywhere
and developed the watering can.
Remember this is a demo.
Group opinions!
And then the next remark was
what would happen if I
had a white dress and darker background
Unfortunately, I did not photograph
that one so please pretend the one below
had a white dress first.
Verdict...much to stark
 even though I loved the
colors of her dress in shadow
I went back to the warm
 color harmony but the dark
background changed the light.
Sheesh - all under the scrutiny of
The guild members.
By this time I could have
thrown it out of the window...
except for no window in the studio!

So I scraped it off again and did a sketch
Me in my apron!
and that is what led to this painting
All inspired by Vermeer's Milkmaid.
Guess what...
I scraped this off!

Sorry I did it now, but for some reason
the receding hairline on the woman in
Vermeer's painting fascinated me 
and after class
 when everyone had left
I scraped it off and 
painted this on the same board.

 What did I learn from all these changes?
I did better when I posed myself
in front of the mirror and drew
a value sketch.
(More contemporary.)
Knowing the color harmony
ahead and sticking with it
would have helped and although
coping the idea of a pose from a
master painting
is a great learning experience,
it is not as easy as it sounds.
One thing remained constant
during all these changes...
and that was what blew me away
after seeing the original.
Did you notice it?


  1. You do lovely work, Julie, whatever genre you choose.

    1. Welcome back from Costa Rico, David. Loved your previous post too. Cold, maybe, but the scenery was fabulous!

  2. What is your constant? The arms? Very interesting post, Julie!

    1. The constant was the water coming out of the can. It was the milk pouring out of the jug that blew me away with Vermeer's painting! That was the constant - the arms moved only a little so good guess. Your colors are gorgeous in your new floral, Carol.

  3. Such an interesting journey, and a lesson on how painting-by-committee can prove difficult. I liked your final (albeit shot-lived) result with the striped apron very much, but loved your after-class painting too.

    1. Hi Helene, difficult, yes, but this was me including them in the process so they would get the drift of the choices that could be made with a project like this. I do not often include them in my demos - for the reasons you obviously understood.
      Wow - your new deer portrait is amazing. bet that sells fast!

    2. Thank you, Julie. I'm so pleased you liked it. As always, it's a delight to be one of your blogging pals.

  4. Hi Julie, I love this post. Lots of inspiration for even the "sometimes" artist like myself. Must be wonderful to have a group like that to paint with. Have a great weekend.

    1. Hi Carol - the art group support is a lovely thing and I am grateful to share it here at the Guild. I see teaching, workshops etc is all going online and the support is limited to words of praise on the screen.
      Your post about sleep was fascinating.

  5. Wow! Your posting is just filled with ideas and concepts on many aspects of drawing/painting a figure. You suggest many possibilities that are available as an outcome and this work in progress lets me visually appreciate the thinking that goes into your process. Thanks, Julie!

    1. As always, your comment is insightful and supportive - I enjoyed it very much, Carol. Thank you.
      Hope you are painting more animals. You do them so well

  6. Julie this was such a wonderful journey you allowed us to see. I basically though the constant was the tilt of the head?? For some reason that is what draws me into each of the changes. Your expertise friend is so amazing. As always your art touches my heart. Take care and have a lovely weekend. Hugs!

    1. Hi friend, it is the a t of pouring - water coming out like the milk coming out, is what i stuck to. The clothes, hats etc, i had fun with but kept a watering can as a constant. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  7. What an interesting post Julie. I I loved seeing the progression and the end result was amazing. Outstanding work as always, my friend!!!!!

    1. Thank you so much Hilda. Happy you found it interesting.
      Love your child portrait.

  8. I really loved the first one, 'Watering the Glads' , but the final portrait blows me away ! You do not often make portraits and this one is absolutely stunning !

    1. You are so nice to say that about the portrait. I do not often do them either
      I learned a lot about his little spots of color.
      Your new flower painting is wonderful.

  9. I am imagining all the scraping and repainting. lol So much for playing to the crowd. I do love the painting at the start...lovely light and color, with that pose reminiscent of the Vermeer. I like the last version too...but miss the additional colors of all the flowers that brought it so much life.

    1. Yes, the flowers gave it life but i ended up making discoveries on Vermeer’s technique. The whole thing was a great learning experience. Sorry you have been under the weather, Joan, but enjoyed seeing you got out and painted today.

  10. It was just fascinating to read about the progression of your painting as well as your thoughts. All your work is so lovely, Julie. I mourn the wiping off of your wonderful self portrait with watering can but love the final portrait!

  11. Hi Susan - lovely comment - thanks for the support. Nice you like the copy of the face. Your post with the inspired portrait and what you wrote was really great.

  12. Johannes Vermeer one of my absolute favourite artists, recognized the influence right away but it also read as a piece done by you with the colours and texture :)

    1. Thanks Jennifer. I posted on my FB page(not art) a picture of what looks like a dragon. Honest. Called Armadillo girdled lizard. Uncanny. Check one out on Google.

  13. You are in a league of your own, Julie. Stunning work!!!
    And thank you for the great lesson :) What lucky students you have...

  14. Bonsoir ma chère Julie,

    Je suis époustouflée par toutes ces étapes ! On peut dire que c'est une peinture aboutie ! Vous y avez également introduit la lumière qui lui apporte un véritable caractère.
    J'aime toutes ces recherches... ce tâtonnement qui a bouleversé tout votre ressenti.
    Un patchwork de couleurs intéressant.
    Notre âme est une véritable éponge, elle absorbe les thèmes, les couleurs, les formes et les font ressurgir lorsque la maturité opère.
    Merci de partager l'évolution de cette peinture... Magnifique travail !

    Gros bisous


    1. Good evening my dear Julie, I am blown away by all these steps! It can be said that it is a finished painting! You have also introduced the light that gives it a real character. I love all this research ... this groping that has upset all your feelings. A patchwork of interesting colors. Our soul is a real sponge, it absorbs the themes, the colors, the forms and makes them reappear when the maturity operates. Thank you for sharing the evolution of this painting ... Beautiful work! Big kiss on Watering The Glads, Vermeer and a series of changes

  15. I loved the evolution of the final piece! The directions of the thought process, the probable dissatisfaction that enabled the bold decision to scratch off and yet arrive at the masterpiece. I could relate to this experience since off late I start off with one and end up with totally a different one!

  16. I've never been good at coping other paintings but this concept you have is excellent. Thank you for sharing this one Julie. I'm off to find favorites of mind and see what I can conger up.


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