Seago copy

A copy in oils on panel of a painting by Edward Seago.

Seago was a prolific painter of landscapes. Stapleton Kearns has written extensively about his methods on his blog, which is well worth a read.

I started with a charcoal sketch to get the feel of the composition. I think the composition is instantly appealing, with those unusual tree angles and the light-dark balance. The eye is naturally drawn around the scene and off towards the distant trees and sky.

Seago’s style is very loose and painterly. He painted very quickly with brushy, textural strokes, and it was important to remember this when making this copy. It’s a style which can’t be reproduced by fussing around or tentative licking with the brush. This was especially true for the foreground snow where the textures of the grasses could only be achieved by a confident, definite stroke. A palette knife was useful for many of the effects.

I let the first pass of paint dry before drawing the trees over the top, though Seago probably did this wet-into-wet.

I might have oversaturated the colours in this copy. Seago’s colours are more muted and greyed down in the original painting, though two separate online references have different colour casts. Another painting of a similar scene [The reed bed — Winter] has different colours again.

These master copies really are useful for trying out different approaches to painting. The different styles force you in to new ways of seeing and translating. And while examining the surface of the painting can reveal valuable insights into the artist’s methods, so much more can be learned from ‘acting out’ a bravura brush stroke.


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