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Two modern painting giants meet in Aix-en-Provence (France)

(From mai 25th until September 27th 2009)

The influence of Cezanne on Picasso is a well recognized and interesting fact among art lovers. The intimate motivations and passions of an artist are always a thrilling aspect of art history. His respect and passion for Cezanne is well illustrated by the purchase of the chateau de Vauvenargues at the bottom of the “Sainte-Victoire mountain” in 1959.

Through 110 paintings, drawings, water-color paintings and sculptures, the Granet Museum focuses on the respectful passion of Picasso for Cezanne.
The recent exhibition at the Grand Palais in Paris, “Picasso et les maîtres” showed us an artist, admiror of ancient painting. At the Granet museum, as he presents the love of Picasso for Cezanne’s work , Yves Kneusé uses a bare and even austere decoration as a reminder of the humbleness of Picasso toward the old master. It reminds us of the “Château de Vauvenargues” and its rough and peaceful garrigue (scrubland).


Facing the one he always called “Monsieur Cezanne”, the one he never even dared to meet, the one he saw as his “one and only master”, Picasso is not the conquering adventurer of “Menines” or of “Alger women”. When he decides to climb the Sainte-Victoire mountain more than half a century after the death of the genius of “Provence”, he picks the north side. Almost like he wouldn’t dare going the south side, the dangerous one, the one Cezanne diffracted more than 80 times, revolutionizing art in an irreversible way.

When he thinks of Cezanne who was the most cultivated of the impressionists, Picasso doesn’t put himself first; he is not tempted to play his own role as he often does. What he sees first in Cezanne is the thinker in the process of imagining his own painting says Bruno Ely, director of the museum who, by the diversity of the paintings and drawings, proves himself right.

The exhibition, on about 400 m2, has four sections on two levels. On the bottom floor, Picasso gets the feel of Cezanne’s techniques (sense of values, structuring touch, a permanent lack of balance which, in the end, gives a true balanced composition) and of his themes (Harlequin, the white compote dish, the pipe smoker). We all see the love and respect for the master.

We admire, here, a great understanding of that period of Picasso’s work which is not as well known as the blue, the pink or the cubist period but yet, full of life and vitality. At the age of 77, Picasso finds, in the work space of Cezanne, a new youth.
He also painted sceneries. He painted three times the village of “Vauvenargues”. Unfortunately, we will not be able to enjoy “nude under the pine tree” which had to stay in the Chicago museum.

The Picasso family was actually very generous as they lent forty unpublished paintings. Other museums gave us access to many exceptional masterpieces like that splendid Harlequin by Cezanne who had barely ever left The National Gallery.
Altogether, the exhibition gives us another vision of Picasso’s immense work as we discover, through modern techniques, one major source of inspiration of this master of the 20th century that was Pablo Picasso.

Famous artists

Drawing skills have been used and passed down through the centuries. Many artists have excelled in using pencils, crayons, pens or charcoal.

Often the creation of a painting required hours preparation, with sketches and studies of objects, people, and the background.

Leonard de Vinci

April 15th April 1452 – 2nd May 1519, he was one of histories greatest painters, a genius who excelled in all the domains of art, from painting to architecture. Born in the village of Vinci in Italy, he died at the age of 67 in Amboise, France. He is reputed as one of the fathers of the Renaissance period. Creating some of the most famous works such as the Mona Lisa, de Vinci left mankind with an outstanding collection of master pieces. Look at the skillful use of red chalk in the drawing of his self portrait.

Jacques Louis David

The French artist Jacques Louis David lived from 1748 to 1825. Recognised for his talent with works such as”The Oath of Horatii” and the scences of Napoleon, David was also a genius with peoples’ portraits such as “Portrait of Doctor Alphonse Leroy”

George Stubbs

Born in Liverpool 1724 and died in London 1806. His talent for drawing and painting horses has admired by generations. He also painted other animals such as dogs.

William Turner

A romantic painter from England 1775 to 1851, well known for his maritime works such as “The Fighting Temeraire” with intense colours and an expertise in perspective. Turner inspired artists such as Monet.

John Constable

John Constable (1776-1837) lived at the same time as his English compatriot Turner, Constable is reknowned for his landscape art of the English countryside, the study of day light, clouds and painting different times of the day. Examples such as the painting “Noon, The Hay-Wain”.

Animals and wildlife

AnimalsForm the earliest days of mankind, we have drawn images of the animals we have hunted, admired or feared. From the primitive cave drawings to huge bronze statues of galloping horses such as those in the Fountain of Trevi. Capturing the movement and power these animals has fascinated us. Artists like George Stubbs became masters in painting horses. The key is to observe and keep looking.

Drawing the volumes

If you want to draw a horse, first look at its profile, then divide the animal into five separate volumes, the head, neck, shoulder, abdomen and rear.

How to draw a horse

The first three volumes to draw are the shoulder, abdomen and rear. Once you have drawn these in the correct proportions then you can continue with the neck and head.

Learn the anatomy

If you understand how the bones are joined together, then you sketch will make sense and you will be able to show movement. Remember that bones are limited in the directions and amount in which they can turn. The posture of the animal must always look natural. Even if there is no motion in the drawing, perhaps it is a cat sleeping on a chair, you have to respect the way the body can bend and twist.

Horse head and neck

The position and stance will depend on the species in questions and you should try to observe how the animal you are drawing walks, runs and its general behaviour.

Animal movement
This article is an extract of the Signus online drawing course