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Learning from the Old Masters – part 1

Sketches, studies and reproductions I’ve made over the years.

In many ways I would have to consider myself self taught, although I’m not a big fan of that way of thinking, especially considering the fact that if one is paying attention, there are teachers everywhere. Since I have no formal training much of my education has come from studying art history, drawing from life and as this post shows, studying and reproducing works of the old masters. Most of these are from 2001 to 2005 and are an example of the choices I’ve made and which artists have inspired me.

Exploring these works and trying to reproduce them taught me a great deal as I tried to understand how they accomplished what they did. Along with studying the paintings themselves and the lives of the artists I also spent endless hours studying books on the methods and materials of the old masters in an effort to absorb as much as possible to develop a sound technical practice, to create works that were properly constructed and would stand the test of time.

This list is not complete by any means. There are still a few reproductions that I’ve painted which I don’t have records of. I don’t do many reproductions these days unless I’m commissioned to do so. I have about six in the studio that I have been meaning to get back to for the last few years, but they are more for my own personal enjoyment. I hope to finish them up over the winter. Stay tuned for “Learning from the old masters – part 2”.


Self portrait as a young man, after Rembrandt, oil on panel © Mark Reeder.
Self portrait as the Apostle Paul, detail, after Rembrandt, oil on panel © Mark Reeder.
Rembrandt’s eyes, after Rembrandt, oil on panel © Mark Reeder.
Study for the Head of Apollo in the ‘Forge of Vulcan’, after Velazquez, 8 x 12,
oil on panel 2004 © Mark Reeder.
Fumee d’Ambre Gris, detail, after Sargent, oil on panel, 6 x 7, oil on panel © Mark Reeder.
Roses, after Sargent, oil on panel © Mark Reeder.
Venetian street, detail, after Sargent 9 x 12.5, oil on canvas © Mark Reeder.
Bust of Medusa, after Bernini, 12 x 12, oil on linen © Mark Reeder.
after Michelangelo, 6 x 12, oil on canvas panel 2005 © Mark Reeder.
after Rodin, 6 x 12, oil on panel 2001 © Mark Reeder.
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Catching up

Selected works from the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition 2005 and my first solo show 2006

Street light, detail, 2005 © Mark Reeder.
Bridge, 8 x 18, oil on panel, 2005 © Mark Reeder.
Head study, 6 x 9, oil on panel, 2005 © Mark Reeder.
Draped chair, 7 x 9, oil on panel, 2004 © Mark Reeder.
Yellow rose, 7 x 10, oil on panel, 2005 © Mark Reeder.
Studio door, 11.5 x 17, oil on canvas, 2005 © Mark Reeder.
Green canoe, oil on canvas, 2004 © Mark Reeder.
Conch, 18 x 22, oil on canvas, 2005 © Mark Reeder.
Wild flowers, 2006 Mark © Reeder.
Chopping block, 16 x 20, oil on linen, 2006 © Mark Reeder.
Light touch, oil on linen, 2006 © Mark Reeder.
The Thinker, 68 x 48, oil on linen, 2006 Mark © Reeder.
While working on the finishing touches for my website I came across some images of my paintings from previous exhibitions.  These are some of my favourites.  I thought this blog would be a good place to share them since I will be starting the website off with more current work. Hope you enjoy!
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New Portrait

This is a portrait I finished recently of my friend Minna. I really liked the light in this image, and the sense of a rural or country environment. The first thing that comes to mind though every time I look at it is the word youth.

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Some older work

One of my good clients brought this piece by for a coat of varnish during a visit to pick up another painting not too long ago. It was nice to see one of my older paintings again, especially after I lost a lot of work when my computer crashed a while back. It’s also good to take a look back once in a while to see what you were doing, how it relates to what you’re doing now and how it all sits in the journey of an artist’s development of choices and inspirations.
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What’s on the easel

I started this quite a while ago and finally got back to working on it the other day. I also have a couple more landscapes in process and most of the other paintings I’ve been working through are pretty much done. It feels good to get through a big batch of work and I still have quite a bit to do. I guess I’m always chasing after the next painting, or the last one!
The last couple of days the weather has been just beautiful. Having the windows open letting in the fresh air and having the studio cleaned up nice with some great music on and getting back to this painting has put me in a pretty decent mood, so I thought I’d do a quick post to share what’s on the easel.

Hope everyone’s having a fantastic day!

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New Portrait

I’ve been working through about half a dozen portraits and figures lately. This is the first one done. Most of the others are very close to being completed and I’m looking forward to getting on with some new ones and catching up on some ideas I’d like to explore.Over the last few years I’ve become increasingly interested in exploring still life and how they can relate and express a human experience or presence. Landscapes and city scapes as well hold an interest for me, although it does resonate a little differently. I’ve been drawn to figures since my earliest studies of art history and the fact that they are probably one of the most challenging subjects to paint. I’m sure there are many artists out there that would agree with me on that.Portraits, however, as a subject, are what interest me most. There is soo much potential to express a persons emotion or state of mind. The psychology of people and the qualities they can convey I find fascinating and an endless supply of inspiration. Just as much can come through with the gesture, position or action of the hands as with what’s going on with the face.

Much of my intention in painting is to promote specific qualities and I thoroughly enjoy finding new ways to express them by painting portraits.

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Painting in the garden

This is a quick painting I did of daisies I grew in my garden. I really love gardening and a big part of the reason or motive behind creating and exploring the kind of flowers I choose is also with the intention to paint them. In essence I want to create an environment in and around me not only to live in a more artful way but also to promote care, life and beauty. This ecology greatly enriches my life and inspires my choices in painting.

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The Thinker

An artist/musician friend of mine and I were having a lengthy discussion about art, creativity and philosophy the other day and this painting came up in conversation….coincidentally I came across the image of it this afternoon. I painted it in 2006 so it’s been a while since I’ve seen it, was nice to see it again.
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Leah

I had this painting up a while ago when i was ‘playing’ with this whole blog thing. I was thinking to put this up with some other figurative work later, but decided not to wait.
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Still life in the studio

Daffodils, 24 x 31, oil on linen, 2009 © Mark Reeder.
Turquoise still life, oil on linen, 2009 © Mark Reeder.
Here are a few still life paintings I’ve done recently, had quite a bit of fun working on these. I really like the idea in the first one showing a subject for a painting mixed in with the tools of the trade.
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