No more plastic grapes -- practicing painting by being a copycat

Painting a still lifeI've been taking painting classes for a few years now, at the same art school. In fact, I've been there so long that I've gone through every prop in the "still life prop" closet. Plastic fruit, second-hand bowls and vases, gnarled driftwood. You name it, I've tried to paint it.

Uninspired by the props, I decided to try something different -- copying the work of another artist. I adore Cezanne, but it would feel like blasphemy to try to copy his gorgeous apples. Instead, I discovered the work of Max Pechsteina German expressionist from the first half of the 20th century. Vibrant colors, strong brushwork -- here's the painting I chose.
Still life by Max Pechstein
I started by sketching the shapes in charcoal onto my canvas. I ended up compressing the scene a bit, since my canvas was slimmer than the Pechstein's.
Painting a still life
I began by filling in the pitchers, vases and leaves. The pitchers are slightly Seussical, which I love.
Painting a still life
Next came the fruit and flowers.
Painting a still life
Here's my finished painting. I'm happy with how much it looks -- and feels -- like the original. At least from a distance!
Painting a still life


  1. Love the word Seussucal...sounds like a Wicki word...or a Seuss word!

    1. there's actually a kid's play called "Seussical the Musical" so I can't take credit.


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