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What I learned from Studying Jack Vettriano

When I first arrived in China, tired and broke my brother let me stay at his place.In the room where I was staying was a huge bookcase and as I browsed I found a book of prints by a Scottish artist that I'd never heard of before. As I delved into it's cover I discovered a secret world of seduction, lust and debauchery and my view of art changed. That painter was Jack Vettriano.

I liked everything about him, his style, his subject matter, the way he was untrained as an artist but became the UK's most popular living one.

I started painting soon after reading his book. The first time my new paintings got to see the outside world was under unfortunate circumstances. The Sichuan Earthquake of 2007 hit and devastated a large swath of China leaving thousands dead or homeless. the expat community got together and we decided to have a fundraiser. i had nothing to give only the paintings that I had been doing as a hobby. I took them to the auction night. My 1st reproduction of a Jack Vettriano raised $300 for the cause.

It was a pretty terrible copy but I loved the process and learning and understanding his technique.

I've spent the last 2 weeks producing 3 Vettriano reproductions and these are the things that I've learned:

1:Paint in Situ

The key to his paintings is the colours, if you're painting an outdoor painting, then let that natural light provide the reference you need to see those colours more clearly.

2- Choose to paint in blocks or layers

So there are 2 ways to start a canvas, the first is to 'kill the canvas' by washing the blank canvas with a neutral colour that appears throughout the canvas or colour the blank canvas in smaller blocks of colour. Study the painting you are trying to reproduce and choose the best method.

For example, this painting has a shade of red present in all the colours of the canvas because of the reflection from the carpet and furniture:

So with this one, I started by painting the whole canvas red and then started to add the detail

The other way is to paint the smaller components of the painting in blocks like this:

3- Think 'Front to Back'

When painting a piece that has perspective with things both in the foreground and background, think of the order to paint them. The background should always be painted first and then add the foregrounds in stages ending with the things closest to the viewers eye;

Do you have any other tips on painting Vettriano? Please lave your commenst below.

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