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Re-Purposed Images (Copies)

As a child, I often heard people criticized for “copying” or “stealing” someone else’s idea. Then I went to art school and found out that artists copy work all the time. In fact, it’s a long-standing tradition, often a way of studying the work of a master, and usually considered a compliment.

"Lamentation" After Durer by Mollie Walker Freeman

“Lamentation” After Durer by Mollie Walker Freeman

Now, famous and not-so-famous artwork can be found on everything from coffee mugs to calendars to pet sweaters. Then there are the ubiquitous “memes” all over the internet. It’s not all bad; but that’s not really what I’m talking about here.

In school, students of the Kansas City Art Institute, such as myself, were encouraged to visit the nearby Nelson Atkins Museum of Art and draw from original works that hung there. As a teenage art student, I thought this was a “stupid” exercise. To my surprise, I found myself thinking for months and years of the images I had studied. I had, indeed, learned more than I had expected.

This Durer print was inspiration for a piece I did for a Holy Week exhibit at Grace Place church.

This Durer print was inspiration for a piece I did for a Holy Week exhibit at Grace Place church.

I discovered that well-known painters I respected copied works of artists either more mature or sometimes contemporary with themselves. Then, I made another discovery: many famous artists have actually copied the work of children. My husband, Scott Freeman, wrote a cool post about this recently. Click here to read Art and Life Notes “My Five-Year-Old Could’ve Done That.”

Michelangelo's Daniel, Scott's version, attempting to identify Daniel as Jewish

Michelangelo’s Daniel, Scott’s version, attempting to identify Daniel as Jewish

So, today I’d like to share a couple of little paintings Scott and I have done, and the original images which inspired them. We have all sorts of these around our studio, so there will be more to come.

Portrait of Emile Nolde from the museum that was his home in Germany

Portrait of Emile Nolde from the museum that was his home in Germany

 

Also, in November, we are planning a show at the Loveland Art Museum which will feature work inspired by our recent travels in Germany. Some of this work includes paintings based on the small watercolors of Emile Nolde. I fell in love with this series of works by Nolde when we saw the originals at his home/studio in northern Germany. I’ll have to do a whole post, at least, on Nolde and his work.

Mollie & Scott in Nolde's garden, summer 2012

Mollie & Scott in Nolde’s garden, summer 2012

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About Mollie Walker Freeman

I am a fine art painter, & I am studying to be a health coach at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.

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