Calico Art - Carol Vaage

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Artist Studies – ongoing

Studying under the masters was the only way to become an artist in previous generations: apprenticing, learning techniques, design, composition, form, line.

But today, it’s possible to study virtually with artists from anywhere, by studying their style, colour choices, compositions, use of light and shadow. My Pinterest page of artists show more than 50 artists and 2000 images. They are organized alphabetically and can be found at:

At first, it was the renowned artists that I studied, like Picasso, Emily Carr. Practicing their pieces helped me to become bolder with use of colour and unrealistic artistry.

My first ‘aha’ was discovering the Group of Seven. Even, never having studied art, I had heard about this group through my school years but had never seen the images. When I began to look at their work, I was struck by how it called to me. Enlarging the images on my computer allowed me to take in the impact and strength of their work. Images of Canada. Broken into segments of colour and shape. The wild and the raw of our landscape – forests, mountains, lakes. Falling in love with their art led to research their style.

As happens with Pinterest, as soon as you express an interest in a subject, they recommend similar images, like Erica Hawkes, Robbie Craig, and Nicholas Bott. When I studied their work, patterns began to emerge. The flow of lines. The use of colour. The foreground versus distance. Composition. My love of nature blended with this style, and I attempted paintings with my own images using their style.

Studying Emily Carr, led me to painting trees with swooping, curved lines and using unusual colours. Her work with Indigenous topics, led me to explore Benjamin Chee Chee and Norval Morrisseau. I spent several months working in this style, loving the bold strong colours and contrasting blacks. At this point, I created my only self-portrait thus far using this style of art.

With so many of the art galleries, museums and artist websites having online images of artwork, it is possible to branch out in many different directions. Immerse yourself in an artist’s style until you can recognize it anywhere, and experiment with the techniques they’ve used. You’ll soon find that certain bits become adapted into your own style. They become the influencers for your growth and development.

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