The art of the “after”, that is, producing a copy of a masterpiece, can be beneficial to one’s learning. It can offer a set of lenses through which to see and gain impressions that feed one’s own work. I have done several Picasso pieces as studies. While working on the Dancing Couple, shown here, I was given a glimpse beyond technique. I found the path Picasso traveled, touched upon it, by remaining true to my own artistic sensitivity.
I rendered this piece using pastels, and Picasso used oil paint. At some point in the rendering, while attempting to accomplish the position of the hands, things went awry and I made a choice to render them as I did. The difference in the positions between the original and my interpretation is present but not distracting. After completing the piece, which sold, I was looking more closely at one of my two Picasso volumes and came across a canvas of mini-sketches of various kinds. One of these showed the same Dancing Couple with the hands exactly positioned as I had done in my interpretation. With the seeing of this, suddenly, I realized I’d found his path, which is to say I found a creative wellspring from which he was drinking. Quite heavily, I might add. It felt more universal than Picasso, this wellspring of creative intelligence.
This experience showed me some subtle things that word imagery can’t render. But basically, once again, the wisdom in being true to one’s own creative path when learning was presented – trusting the process – and of course I speak to the art of my living. The objections my mind produced as I made the choices I made in rendering that piece would have led me away from that creative wellspring experience, had I followed them. I am encouraged to encourage deeper trust in my living.