If you’re an aspiring artist looking to learn the tricks of the trade, look no further than Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky’s work. The Russian painter created some of the most iconic seascapes in the 19th century, and his paintings remain popular to this day. To gain a better understanding of his technique and color theory, I decided to take a crack at replicating one of his works. The painting in question was Storm Waves, a masterpiece painted in 1886.
Copying a painting can be a great way to learn about oil painting. From wet-on-wet painting to color theory, there’s a lot to take away from the experience. When it comes to color theory, the main idea was to use complementary colors effectively. The painting has an even ambient light due to the stormy and cloudy sky, which presents a different challenge than a painting with a strong light source.
I used a limited palette of Phthalocyanine Blue, Yellow Ochre, and Black to paint the sea, creating a pleasant tone that dominates the painting and adds character to the work. The original painting measures 84 x 142 cm (33 x 56 inches). That is almost 5 times bigger than my version. While Ivan painted his painting with multiple layers, I painted my painting in one go.
The next time I take on a painting, I’ll be sure to use more detail than I did with this one. My goal is to improve my skills by learning more advanced techniques and practicing them until they become second nature.
Painting a copy of a work of art can be an incredibly rewarding experience. Even though it may take some time, it can be a great way to learn about oil painting techniques and how the old masters worked. So, if you want to improve your skills as an artist, why not give it a try?