Mini copies: Me working on Edward Seago copy. This really shows the size of paper I am working on!

Mini Copies Of Edward Seago Paintings

Oh my gosh! Why oh why did I set myself this challenge? Ah yes, to get me into the studio more! The challenge of which I speak is this: to be in my studio for 15 mins a day in 2020. It doesn’t matter what I do there, I just have to BE THERE! So far, I’ve tidied, done thumbnails, and looked at art books. Finally, I couldn’t stand it anymore (and I was hoping this would happen!). I needed to pick up my pastels! But I had so little time. And for some reason, the idea of making mini copies of work by artists I admire came to mind. Soooo that is what I did!

I had come across a beautiful oil painting by Edward Seago (while doing some research on him for my Mum as inspiration). In my panic as to what to do in 15 mins, I urgently felt the need to get my fingers into colour and pastels. I have no idea what made me put this need and the Edward Seago painting together but it happened.

Because of the time limitation, I grabbed a small leftover scrap of UART paper and went at it. I also figured this was a good opportunity to start using the selection of Unison Colour pastels I’d chosen as possible candidates for my own Unison set.

The next night I faced the same time dilemma and thought, Aha! I’ll do another one! This continued for five nights in all. So I’d like to share these mini copies with you along with the inspirational Seago original. I’ve also shown you both Seago’s work and my own in black and white to have a quick comparison.

Mini copies: Copy after Edward Seago, unknown title and size.
Mini copy after Edward Seago, Unison Colour pastels on UART 280, 3 x 4 1/2 in
Edward Seago, unknown title and size
Edward Seago, unknown title and size
Unison Colour pastels used

The next evening I found one of Seago’s beautiful watercolours. It was mostly light value (snow and sky) so again, it was a great opportunity to try out ‘my’ set using a different selection of colours! It was sure tricky getting the detail of the gate with big pastels!

The next four pieces are done on Art Spectrum’s Colourfix. I had some sample pieces hanging around so I thought they’d be perfect for this exercise. Small problem – they were even smaller than the UART paper!

Mini copies: Copy after Edward Seago, Norfolk Fields in Winter, Unison Colour pastels, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 in.
Copy after Edward Seago, Norfolk Fields in Winter, Unison Colour pastels on Art Spectrum Colourfix, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 in.
Edward Seago, "Norfolk Fields in Winter," watercolour, 15 x 22 in.
Edward Seago, “Norfolk Fields in Winter,” watercolour, 15 x 22 in.
Unison Colour pastels used
Unison Colour pastels used

I chose the next Edward Seago piece because I wanted to get into greens. But gosh those darn cattle were difficult!! Whose ideas were these mini copies anyway?!

Mini copies: Copy after Edward Seago, Thorn Marsh with Cattle and Trees, Unison Colour pastels on ArtSpectrum Colourful, 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.
Copy after Edward Seago, Thorn Marsh with Cattle and Trees, Unison Colour pastels on ArtSpectrum Colourful, 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 in.
Edward Seago, "Thorn Marsh with Cattle and Trees," oil on board, 12 x 16 in.
Edward Seago, “Thorn Marsh with Cattle and Trees,” oil on board, 12 x 16 in.
Unison Colour pastels used
Unison Colour pastels used

I needed a change from all the landscapes and so went looking for something else. I took on a real challenge when I chose this colonnade in the Doges Palace in Venice. What was I thinking? (Look at the size comparison between mine and Seago’s!)

Copy after Edward Seago, The Colonnade, "Doges Palace, Venice," Unison Colour on Art Spectrum Colourful, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 in.
Copy after Edward Seago, The Colonnade, “Doges Palace, Venice,” Unison Colour on Art Spectrum Colourful, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 in.
Edward Seago, "The Colonnade, Doges Palace, Venice," oil on board, 20 x 36 in
Edward Seago, “The Colonnade, Doges Palace, Venice,” oil on board, 20 x 36 in
Unison Colour pastels used
Unison Colour pastels used
This just gives you an idea of the very basic drawing I started with.
This just gives you an idea of the very basic drawing I started with.

And lastly, I chose what I thought would be an easy copy after the last one – basic water, grass, sky. Simple right? Well, not so simple at all!! I think this one may have taken me the longest to do. Definitely longer than 30 mins!

Mini copies: Copy after Edward Seago's Winter Sunlight on the Thurne,Unsion Colour pastels on Artspectrum Colourful, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 in.
Copy after Edward Seago’s Winter Sunlight on the Thurne, Unison Colour pastels on Artspectrum Colourfix, 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 in. (The piece is actually lighter than it looks here.)
Edward Seago, "Winter Sunlight on the Thurne," oil on board, 16 x 24 in
Edward Seago, “Winter Sunlight on the Thurne,” oil on board, 16 x 24 in
Unison Colour pastels used
Unison Colour pastels used

It’s amazing the things you learn when you copy. You understand how the master used value, colour, composition, aerial perspective, edge, and how the viewer’s eye is subtly led through the painting.

And that’s that! Hope you enjoyed this wee excursion through my pastelling for the last five days. This blog is a bit rushed and short because I’m in the midst of getting everything ready for my membership opening in a couple of days (Sunday 19th Jan!). And there’s still soooooo much left to do! So do forgive if this seems a bit rushed.

That doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear from you though!! Please do leave a comment.

Until next time,

~ Gail

PS. You can read about the IGNITE! Art-Making Membership by clicking here.

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20 thoughts on “Mini Copies Of Edward Seago Paintings”

  1. I love your copies, Gail, they’re a very fresh take on the originals, and what a great way to use those small pieces of pastel grounds! I often make the mistake when I’m not feeling very inspired or creative of going straight in with a landscape or other image on a 12 x 16″ ground. But this size is INCREDIBLY intimidating if I’m not firing on all artistic cylinders, and usually I’ll get discouraged and abandon it. It would be so much better to do small studies instead, such as copying works as you have, just have fun with it, and hope that the exercise loosens me up and releases some creativity ready for some larger works. Am definitely going to try it.

    1. Whoo hoo!! Kylia, that’s what I love to hear!!

      Yes, larger pieces can be intimidating if you’ve just not got your mojo or time is short. Doing these small pieces meant I could really get in a look at how the master (in this case Edward Seago) arranged the piece. I could pastel with all the anxiety of what to create taken away. I could just get in there and have fun with the process and learning and also having pastels in my hand! AND the challenge of working so small was fantastic too. You get In The Zone and enjoy the struggle.

      For sure try this. And then be sure to report back here and tell us what happens!!

  2. Hi Gail,
    This was very interesting. I’ve shied away from “copying the masters” because I have so much of my own work I want to do, but this was very intriguing.

    And yes, I enjoyed your post on composition. I had to look up some of the terms because I’d never heard of them. This led me to look at my paintings and decide which composition design I followed with each one.

    By the way, I’m re-reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert … just about the best book I’ve ever read! Thank you so much for including it on your list.

    1. Hi Sasha, so super you have a lot of your own work to do. For me, this was a way of using pastels where I didn’t have to think (especially with limited time). I could just enjoy the process of application and trying to create in pastels on a mini scale what Edward Seago had achieved in his oils.

      Glad you enjoyed the blog with guests offering advice on composition. Love that with this knowledge, you then went back to your own work to identify their designs!

      And yes Big Magic lifts the art and soul spirit doesn’t it!?

  3. Hi Gail, I LOVE what you’ve shared today!, I sometimes want to do this very thing, but now, I will! Love the tiny format, so great to post up on the studio wall afterward to inspire and remind us of how, when, where, why, and who…. just all around good win!!

  4. Hey Gail,
    Your small works of art are beautiful! what a creative way to make art and feel like you have accomplished a painting. You continue to be an inspiration for me. I decided last week that this weekend I would spend some time playing with my pastels. Perhaps a 3×5 is exactly where I need to start, to build creative momentum. Thanks for Sharing Gail.
    Kind regards

    1. Thank you so much Sandra for your words of appreciation. I can’t tell you how satisfying these were to do! I could sink into the process without worrying about
      a) how much paper I had to fill (soooo small!)
      b) getting a good composition and values structure – already done!
      c) having a short time (less than 30 mins)
      Also, I did them on a table when my usual way of working is upright, on an easel. I worked at night under bad lighting (and quite yellow lighting) but sticking with the value design, it didn’t really matter. I was surprised and pleased generally with the way they turned out. But really I just felt great doing the work!

  5. I absolutely love your tiny paintings and thank you for sharing your pallets as well. I’ve never done this so I’m going to try it! I’m leaving to visit my artist/mother in Naples, FL tomorrow morning and we plan to paint together. Now I know what to pack!!! Packing a small set of pastels along with some little paper samples that Dakota’s Pastel sent me to try…..perfect!! Thank you, Gail

    1. Thank YOU Anne for such an enthusiastic response to my post. LOVE that you are going to try it.

      And it made me smile when I read about now knowing what to take with you on your visit to Naples (loved it there when I taught a workshop!). It’s way better to take small pieces and fill them up and wish you’d brought bigger pieces than take large pieces and hardly use them! And it will be fun to use up the Dakota samples 😀

  6. I can’t believe you can convey so much in such a tiny space! I think I’d struggle to convey anything but smudges at that size. A great idea to have the subject matter there to reproduce though, definitely takes some of the angst out of it. If I can get myself out of the totally “dry” period I’ve been if for ages now, I’ll definitely give this a try. Thanks for the inspiration.

    1. Dry periods are a bumper that’s for sure Jan. 🙁
      I encourage you to take a small piece of paper, put on music that moves your soul, find a Master painting with big value shapes and go for it. Just get in there and enjoy the process of working. Try to detach from the outcome. Moving those pastels about on paper is the REAL deal!

  7. Thanks for sharing this Gail. It is nice to know that even seasoned artists get stuck trying to figure out what to paint when they walk into their studio. I think I will try copying other artists as well. I struggle with my own work as I am not that experienced yet. You have inspired me to give it another go. Can you suggest a landscape artist to copy?

    1. Thanks Kathy! At this point I wasn’t really stuck about what to paint per say (but yes that can happen!) but what to paint in a very limited time and with very limited mental space available (as I was in the last week of preparation for my monthly membership IGNITE!). So once I was on a roll, it made it so easy to get cracking as I already knew what I was going to paint before I got to the studio. This is also the case when you work in a series! Boom, you get to it because you’ve skipped that deliberation step!

      Do try copying the masters from the past. It’s amazingly satisfying.

      As to a recommendation, it’s difficult because I’m not sure what your requirements are. You could start with Edward Seago work! Just click the Portland Gallery link at the end of the post.

    1. Thanks so much Brenda. Of course much of the credit is due to Edward Seago who picked the scene, simplified it, composed it, settled on the values and colour, and added the figures!
      Venice is a not-to-be-forgotten place that’s for sure. Cam and I visited the city briefly after my workshop in Croatia in 2017. I would go back in a flash!

  8. What a delight! I love your mini-masterpieces! There is so much to learn by copying the masters. I’ve been on a roll and am happy on my roll for now…but I will tuck this gem of an idea away for future reference! Thanks, Gail! By the way, I am also reading Big Magic and loving it. Elizabeth Gilbert is very inspiring.

    1. Hey Wendy – thanks so much!! Glad to hear you’re on a roll (nothing quite like that feeling!)! Yes, do keep this idea tucked away for sometime when you may feel stuck. It really is a goodie 🙂
      Glad you are enjoying Big Magic – sooooo inspirational!

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Gail Sibley

Artist. Blogger. Teacher.

My love of pastel and the enjoyment I receive from teaching about pastel inspired the creation of this blog. It has tips, reviews, some opinions:), and all manner of information regarding their use through the years – old and new. Please enjoy!

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