There’s nothing like building upon the foundations built by giants to make certain that your own work is of better quality. At the Getty we visited some of my favorite paintings (Alma-Tadema’s “Spring”, a lovely Sargent portrait, a pair of Tissot society ladies and one of Godward’s best pieces, “Mischief and Repose”). But I was particularly interested in taking a close look at the great Pre-Raphaelite Millais’ “The Ransom” - a magnificent piece of work that stands out as an example of the extraordinarily detailed work that the PRB sought in the early days of their association – I find his early work inspiring not only because of it’s technical mastery, but because of its focus on a romantic, fantastic past inhabited by people who behaved nobly and with heroism.

The careful observation of the grass and the muddy stains on the page’s stockings are outstanding; the treatment of the fur, while pretty simple to achieve with a fan brush, is perfectly executed; I want to emulate this kind of work in the Emperor when the time comes to paint the foreground and the next layers of the figures.

    

 

Using Millais as a Reference

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