This is an exercise I would recommend to anyone, whether you're a writer, a painter, a song-writer, an architect or a sharpshooter. Go out there and find 5 things you wish you had done in your field. For me, these paintings represent a small portion of the works done by people to whom I aspire to be like.
Maybe you have works that you really love. If so, I'd love to see them. Make a note of them in the comment section!
1. Alphonse Mucha - Croation Woman with Apples
I have been in love with Mucha since I was a teenager. Most of you probably know his Art Nouveau posters, and these were the pieces that originally attracted me as well. However, I started to look at the other works that he'd done and was amazed. Mucha has a few of my favorite paintings, but this one is one that I wish I could put my name on. The expression of the woman really gets me. If I stare at this painting for 10 minutes, nine of them would be just staring into her eyes.
2. JW Waterhouse - Penelope and the Suitors
No matter how many times I look at this work I'm still amazed by it. Waterhouse does something that I have never been able to do: remain loose, even while giving us some intimate detail! Granted, the painting is over 6' long, but it couldn't be any other way. This painting was meant to be looked at from afar. The use of color to create emotion, the use of tone...this painting has everything I ever learned to do as an artist, things that take years to master.
3. Julie Bell - Angel Wings
This is a case where, I think, the student has surpassed the master. Julie Bell was a model and student of an artists that I have always admired, Boris Vallejo. Bell has come a long way from her beginnings, though she was always a great artist. Most of their work is commercial, but that doesn't lessen her talent, and this painting is a great example of it. The various textures in this work are impressive. The luminous quality of the flesh drive me to bouts of screaming envy. But, it's also just a nice composition and is the sort of work that I would do.
4. Peter Paul Rubens - Diana Returning from the Hunt
Peter Paul Rubens is my favorite artist. He takes these amazing events and paints them as if we were watching them happen, and I can easily believe I am witnessing history through his eyes. I have also looked at this painting in black and white, and I believe it is just as amazing. This is another painting that is meant to be seen large. To be surrounded by four walls of these giant works...breathtaking.
5. Richard Young - Reposal
I first saw Richard Young's work a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. This painting is one of my favorites. His figure work is amazing, the textures are beautiful, and his use of lights and darks are impressive. I've wanted to reproduce this painting many times, but I'm not convinced I could do it any better than this amazing artist. Looks like I'm going to have to do my own one of these days.
So, these are five of the many paintings I wish had my name on them. Maybe one day one of my paintings will make someone else's list. Until then, I'll keep on creating and improving. It's all any of us can do, right?